Choosing a Firm University

Applying to university is definitely such an exciting time! Making your decision on your firm university choice on UCAS means planning for the future and being able to visualise where you’ll start your next chapter. That said, it is definitely a daunting decision and the, ‘what ifs’ of the situation can cause you to question yourself. In this blog, I’ll be sharing the top 3 things I considered when making my Firm UCAS choice to help you feel confident making the best decision for you!

1. The general feel of the university 

This tip sounds a little strange but is definitely the one I most strongly stand by! Each university has its own unique feel and vibe, a good way to pick this up is through virtual open days, in person tours and through talking to current students. Definitely make sure you are keeping an eye out for what events, the university you are interested in, are putting on for prospective students. To learn more and to sign up for the next open days at Surrey, check out this site here!

For me, Surrey instantly felt at home when I first visited on an open day back in 2018. I felt very calm but very inspired and knew that I would find studying in this setting very motivating. The university has a true sense of community and everyone was welcoming. This was definitely the sort of feeling that I was looking for.

University of Surrey Stag Hill Campus lake with trees, grass and shrubbery. Group of geese swim in lake
The campus lake is just one of the reasons I fell in love with Surrey

2. Talk to current students

Whilst I found touring the facilities and quizzing academics very useful in gaining a better insight into my chosen course, no one can tell you more about the student experience at a university than the current students themselves! Really make the most of any student that you have the opportunity to chat and ask them anything! They’ll love to help and would be more than pleased to talk through their experiences on your chosen course, employment aspects and all of the topics that come under general student life: accommodation, social life and sport for example. No question is too small or too silly! By chatting to current students you’ll get the answer to all of your queries and get a better feeling for what the university is actually like.

Group of University of Surrey Student Ambassadors smiling after working on a project together
Current students really are the experts on all things student life!

Surrey Student Experience blogs are a great place to start with this! We have blogs written by all different types of students in every area of student experience – there’s definitely something for everyone! Our Student Instagram is also the place to be to chat to current students and get a feel for what our day to day life is like. Be sure to give us a follow!

3. Take your time

In the excitement of offers coming in, it’s very easy to get caught up in the moment and this can sometimes feel overwhelming. Make sure you familiarise yourself with the UCAS deadlines for replying to offers and make full use of the time that you have. This could include visiting your top contenders in person if possible, attending virtual events and talking through your decision making process with different people you trust: adults at home and teachers for example. 

I found it very helpful to weigh out the pros and cons of each university and assign them a value based on how much they meant to me. For example, having facilities which were state-of-the-art and purpose built was a very big plus for me as well as having a campus where courses were integrated which made Surrey a very obvious contender! Your priorities are completely personal to you and could be based on anything from league table positions to sports facilities. There’s no right or wrong answer for this and you make your final decision so I’d recommend making sure you take your time and carefully consider all of your options. 

University of Surrey student smiling with dissertation research project in front of main university entrance with Stag statue.
Surrey is definitely the right university for me!

Lastly, I’d like to congratulate all of you who have received offers or are in the process of applying to university! It’s a very exciting time and seeing all of your hard work pay off is extremely rewarding. Hopefully these top tips will help you when making that all important decision about the future! Be sure to follow our Student Instagram for more content on choosing the right university.