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Helping your child choose a course and university

Before choosing a course it’s essential that your child does their research. They shouldn’t just look at each university’s league table rankings and overall reputation. Instead they should look more deeply at what each course offers. Such as the facilities available, the skills they’ll gain, and the opportunities on offer for personal and professional development.

Doing your research

The UCAS website is a great starting point for comparing courses. Pay particular attention to the entry requirements for each one.

Visit UCAS Fairs

Representatives from many universities attend UCAS Fairs which are held throughout the year. It’s a great opportunity for students to meet university staff, ask questions and pick up prospectuses plus lots of freebies.

Have a look through university prospectuses to get an overall feel for the academic experience, student life, campus and local area. 

Explore university websites for more in-depth details about each course. Including the modules your child will study, the teaching environments, how they’ll be assessed. As well as extracurricular opportunities, and the careers that recent graduates from the course have moved into.

Open Days provide the ideal opportunity to explore university campuses, meet course tutors and ask questions. 

Register today for our upcoming Open Days.

Are current students satisfied with their course? For independent insights into what they really think take a look at whatuni.com and thestudentroom.co.uk.

Things to consider

Encourage your child to compare the content of the courses they’re interested at several different universities. No two similarly named courses are ever alike. So it pays to get an insight into the experience they would be signing up for.

  • Look carefully at the individual modules that make up each course. Will your child be able to select from a range of modules, or are all of them compulsory? Having a wide choice of modules could enable them to shape their degree around their ambitions.
  • Will they gain a combination of both theoretical knowledge and practical skills which will be helpful in the future? Our Journalism courses, for example, give students hands-on experience in television production studios. Which feature the same equipment used in the professional media industry. Courses which focus on ‘real-world learning’ enable your child to gain skills which are directly applicable in the workplace. Making them more employable when they graduate.
  • Visit Open Days to see what facilities are available for the courses your child is interested in.
  • How is the course delivered? Are students taught in large lecture theatres or in small groups? How much contact time will they get with their tutors each week? Some students relish working independently, while others prefer close supervision.
  • Are there opportunities to connect with employers and gain work experience? Many universities give students the chance to learn from industry experts and boost their CV. By undertaking internships with top companies, participating in live projects, attending careers events and talks from visiting speakers. Or even spending a full year of their course on an industry placement.
  • What other opportunities can students benefit from? Some of these can be life-changing experiences. Will they get to go on field trips, spend time overseas, network with professionals, or get involved in voluntary work?
  • Find out about the various support services at the university – where can your child go when they need help and advice? What additional support can they access if they have a disability?
  • Also look at extracurricular opportunities. Such as sports facilities, clubs and societies and social activities provided by the Students’ Union and others.