How to choose a university

Whether it’s Surrey you have your heart set on or you’re bouncing around to keep your options open, applying for University can seem like a daunting task.

I remember sifting through pages and pages of university websites, all claiming that their course, or union, or campus would ”change my life”. Thus knowing what is right for you can be a task on its own. It’s fair to say that I thought I knew my own mind, but that was before I started applying to university.

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Me and my Dad at the Surrey applicant day

How to compare universities

When deciding which University to apply to I began by rifling through the UCAS website as you would expect. As tedious as it sounds, typing in your chosen course and comparing your expected grades against different university entry grades is the best way to start.

Once I had a list of universities I thought I could earn the entry requirements for, my next task was to compare each with a set of my own requirements.

The rating of each university was a big factor for me as I wanted to go to the best of what I could get. So I looked up the overall rating of each university as well the ranking of my course at each university. Having done that, the list began to whittle down drastically.
Finally there was the last few factors such as how far the university was from my family, my need to enjoy the benefits of a campus rather than a city, and the social life of the new area.

After that came the exciting part of exploring different universities on open days and collecting what seemed like hundreds of free university tote bags containing personalised university merchandise. However, as expected Surrey University was one that stood out amongst many other respected options.

Applicant days and why I chose Surrey

Attending an applicant day at the University of Surrey was like a breath of fresh air. I was made to feel at home straight away by the cheerful ambassadors and was given all the relevant information necessary to make my decision easy. the campus was of course beautiful, with an idyllic lake and landscaped green areas.

As a prospective English Literature student I was absolutely blown away by the Surrey library – another deciding factor for me. The modern design and availability of resources absolutely outstanding. However, what really stood out to me was Surrey’s apparent and sensitive regard for the voice and views of the students. Throughout the library notices were pinned advertising how to anonymously report any disturbance to the student’s studies, as well as separate floors for both silent, group, and quiet study areas. Such details were never regarded at my sixth form, thus making it rather difficult to revise theories of the diagnosis of schizophrenia amongst rowdy and hormone driven students.

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The University of Surrey library

Another aspect that really attracted my attention was Surrey’s nationally renowned sports park. The university quite clearly regarded exercise and healthy living as a high importance to students, and by starting this new fresh chapter of my life I also vowed I wanted to embrace it.

Overall the whole visit couldn’t have done much more to validate my decision after mentioning that (when I visited) the University had been rated University of the year 2016 and was now regarded the 4th best in the UK.

So with all of that in mind, I do hope that wherever your university experience takes you that you grab the experience with both hands. As well as achieving great grades, it’s so important to be in a place where you will be happy. For myself that has undoubtedly been Surrey, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.