Wondering where to begin when researching the best course for you? Let us help you out.
There are a host of things to consider when deciding on the right university for you. However, as the course you choose is a pretty big decision – it requires its own top tips of things to consider.
What you study will play a huge role in your experience. Each university will strive to convince you you’re making the right choice, but the devil is in the detail.
So what’s the best way to go about it? Well, we recommend really looking into the differences. Look at the modules, the structure, teaching facilities and teaching staff. Do these things suit you? Can you see yourself feeling as excited by the course and its contents in three years as you do right now?
Across universities, degrees with the same title and course codes may be entirely different. Make sure you check out the entry requirements, given that each institution sets their own. Of course, rankings will come into this as well, but there’s always more to the picture.
Top tips for choosing a course
Here are 6 key things to think about when you’re deciding on a course:
Each subject will offer a wide variety of courses to choose from, so it is worth taking some time to consider what it is about your subject of choice that really appeals. Think about why you're interested in studying that particular area; do you want to study it alongside another subject? Which topics most excite you, and why? If you find something that you’re genuinely interested in, you’ll be in a strong position to enjoy the academic side of university. You’ll also stand out in your application and later, job interviews, if you can demonstrate a real passion. It’s what you’re there for, after all.
You may find it helpful to read stories about professionals in your chosen field (if you’ve thought ahead that far) and see what they studied, what they’ve learned, and how you can shape your own journey to get there. Look for a university department who shares your passion and inspires you when you visit or read about the course. Join a subject webinar to ask questions direct to the lecturer and find out directly what the course will involved. To be added to our list to receive these emails sign up here.
When you join UEA, you don’t just become part of a cohort, you belong to a school of study situated within one of our four faculties. Each school and faculty is home to experts in their field and a thriving community of world class researchers alongside the highest quality of teachers.
There’s plenty to consider here.
Are you an essay person, or is revision your thing? Like to read and research and re-write, or do you thrive under the pressure of exams? You’ll find that different courses have different modes of study. When you’re looking at different uni’s and course options, be sure to check how you’ll be taught and assessed.
Courses are put together by individual universities and colleges, drawing on the strengths of the staff and facilities. How these courses are delivered will therefore vary significantly. Why not have a chat with the academic staff and find out more about how the methods available – after all, they’ll be the ones teaching you. Find your subject via our chat service, Unibuddy and speak to students and staff to hear from those who know best.
Many degree courses are ‘modular’ — they’re made up of different blocks dealing with different areas of interest, and delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and/or workshops. Importantly, many degrees give you a choice over some—or even all—of the modules you study.
Your course may include:
● Compulsory Modules — those that must be taken (and passed) to achieve your degree
● Core Modules — you may be required to take a specified minimum number of credits from a core group of modules
● Optional Modules — you can choose a mix and match of what interests you most.
Taking the time to explore and select the right course modules for you can massively affect your enjoyment and success at university. So, check out the content of the modules, and even do some digging into whether the course you’re keen on gives you the opportunity to do minor modules from another subject. This will add another string to your academic bow.
Your aspirations are prone to change over time, but you may already have a pretty clear view of your ideal future. Whether you have a defined career path or you’re not sure what you want to do when you graduate - Look for universities which will help you harness your employability skills from day one.
At UEA, preparing you for your future career is integral to your studies. Our expert careers service work closely with your school of study to embed employability into your degree discipline.
Enjoying your course is key; if you feel stimulated by the course, you’ll engage more with it, spend more time on it, and see better results from it. Learning styles, modules, teachers and course structures come into this, of course, but your enjoyment hinges largely on passion.
Similarly, you might want to consider courses which offer work experience. Undertaking an industry placement gives you real responsibilities and opportunities. Entering the working world during your degree is both challenging and interesting, giving you the chance to implement your learnings into real-world situations. You’ll network, learn, and work with teams of different people with their own stories and specialisms. These are all valuable assets for both your academic and professional career.
Think about why you're interested in studying that particular course; which topics most excite you, and why? If you find something that ticks more boxes than not, you’ll be in a strong position to enjoy the academic side of university. You’ll also stand out when you go for those job interviews if you can demonstrate a real passion. It’s what you’re there for, after all.
You may even want to read stories about professionals in your chosen field (if you’ve thought ahead that far) and see what they studied, what they’ve learned, and how you can shape your own journey to get there.
Options like these can be a great way of standing out to employers once you’ve graduated, but they’re also brilliant for personal growth, new perspectives, and experiences you’ll never forget.
Spending time abroad as part of your degree will not only enhance your soft skills, but you’ll rapidly develop specific technical expertise too. Employers are increasingly on the lookout for people with experience of living abroad, cultural awareness and knowledge of another language. You’ll meet lots of new people, and have heaps of stories that you can share with your peers once you return.
Similarly, undertaking an industry placement gives you real responsibilities and opportunities. Entering the working world during your degree is both challenging and interesting, giving you the chance to implement your learnings into real-world situations. You’ll network, learn, and work with teams of different people with their own stories and specialisms. These are all valuable assets for both your academic and professional career.
Not everyone is suited to studying abroad or doing a placement, and some subject areas have more scope for this than others, but do your research and see if you think you’d make a good fit!
When researching universities, you’ll want to understand what the facilities are like. Explore these from a teaching and study spaces point of view, but also think about which useful amenities are accessible. You’ll be grateful you did your research when it comes to carrying that overflowing wash basket to the launderette!
Being a campus university, you’ll find all the facilities you need for living and studying are within easy reach. With shops, cafes, bars and eateries alongside launderettes, a medical centre and dental practice – you’ll find UEA’s mini city campus is a home away from home.
Of course, the teaching facilities are also crucial to helping you make an informed decision. These will vary widely depending on the subject you study. For example, our fantastic clinical anatomy suite will be of more interest to some, than our state of the art drama studio.
Once again – the best way to explore a university and its facilities is to visit. You can do so by booking an open day or campus tour. But there are plenty of ways to take a look from the comfort of your home too – explore our virtual open day or take a tour now.
And one for luck: Listen to the opinions of other students
We know: choosing a course can be tricky. There are so many out there, each of which offer their own benefits. If you’re struggling to make a call, it can be really handy to speak with students who have been through it. Think about all the nuggets of wisdom and insight you can get from speaking to students who’ve taken the modules you’re looking at!
We’ve put together a platform that makes it easy to engage with students and staff. You can filter by area of study, so you can speak to those in the know and tick a few more bits off your course wishlist. Good luck!