How to choose the right university for you

As with all exciting opportunities, choosing a university involves making some pretty big decisions. To take the sting out of the decision making process, take a look at our useful tips. It’s simply a case of What, Where and How.


The lucky ones amongst you may already have a clear idea of what career you would like to pursue, and the degree that you need to help achieve it. For those of you that are unsure, think carefully about why you want to go to university, as this can help you in deciding what to study.

Those wishing to study for a ‘profession’ such as law, medicine or teaching must complete specific degrees to qualify, so make sure you know what is required of you. If you’re interested in a subject that requires very specific resources, such as Astrophysics or Zoology, you may find that your university choices are limited to a few specialist places. You might also wish to study a subject purely because you have fallen in love with it, in which case you need to research what each course involves carefully to ensure that you are able to pursue your passion fully. For example, if you want to study Archaeology, courses can vary hugely, so find out which locations and time-periods each university specialise in.

Working backwards can also be very effective. Research your ideal career, and find out what qualifications and experience is necessary. This will not only give you more information about your future, but might make you aware of a wider range of degree options.


There are over 300 universities in the UK so choosing where to go can feel daunting, but there are a few simple ways to narrow down the search.

  • Use a reliable website to find out which universities offer the subject or combination of subjects that you wish to study. The UCAS ‘search’ page is particularly useful.
  • Make a wishlist by answering the following questions; Do you want to live at home, or further away? Would you like to live in the city or somewhere more rural? Would you like to live in a larger city or a smaller one? Would you feel more comfortable on a campus university, with everything in one place, or one with facilities spread across a city at different sites? Do you have particular hobbies or interests that require specialist facilities? Does the place you’re considering have the kind of social life you’re looking for? When you have the answers to these questions, you’ll find that your list of possible universities is suddenly much smaller.
  • Compare courses. Once you have some potential universities that offer your chosen subject and meet (most) of your wishlist requirements, research the courses in more detail. Universities have specific pages in their prospectus and on their website dedicated to each course, so that you can find out what kind of things you’ll be studying, and how the course is taught. You can often find other useful information such as contact details for the course leader and any learning opportunities that are unique to that particular university. This information will help you to get a broader sense of what’s on offer and what might be right for you.


If you are applying for an undergraduate degree, it will be processed by UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Its worthwhile registering with UCAS (make sure you save your ID number and Password in a safe place) as soon as you start thinking about university, even before you have made a decision about where to go. Whilst your school, college or employer will support you in making your UCAS application, it’s essential that you familiarise yourself with the key dates, deadlines and structure of the UCAS process. UCAS provide a range of step-by-step guides and videos for each stage of the process which can be accessed here:

Finally, during the decision-making process, it’s easy to feel like you’re being bombarded with information. The most effective way to take control of the situation is to work out what you want, which universities can offer it to you, and most importantly of all, don’t just research online, get out there and visit as many of the universities as you can. All universities offer Open Days, designed specifically to give you a taste of what life is like at that university, and to make sure you have all the information you need to make the right decision.

If you want to find out more about studying and living at the University of Chester, why not book on to one of our Open Days. You can book your place now!

Book now


Want to know more?

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding the application process, feel free to contact our Undergraduate Admissions Team.

T: 01244 511000


Or, for more general enquiries contact us, we’d be more than happy to help.

T: 01244 511000