Which university should I choose if I study in the UK? This is an often asked question and there are many different answers. That’s probably not the initial response you expected!
There are a number of variables to consider when making your choice.
- Firstly, it depends on what you want to study. If this is very specific then that might be the deciding factor as there may only one or two places that offer the exact course for you.
- Then there’s ranking. Actually, many people approach it solely from the point of view of the university ranking, but I suggest looking beyond that and not making it such a big deal. It’s a simple fact that with a few exceptions, the best and highest ranking universities are in the USA or the UK. Those at the very top of the list maintain these high positions year after year because they can afford to offer places to only the highest achieving students, and of course, not everyone can study at Oxford or Cambridge, Harvard or MIT. You need to be very clever and have wealthy parents! There are many universities further down the ranking list that also provide a high standard of educational excellence. If you study at East Anglia, Lancaster, Reading, Exeter and many more, then you will still end up with a very prestigious degree and make yourself more marketable and attractive to employers back home.
- Furthermore, and related to both of the previous points, there are some universities that are highly regarded for particular subjects. For example, if you want to study fashion design, then Loughborough University is particularly noted for that. Similarly the University of Central Lancashire (which is in Preston) for journalism or De Montford University (in Leicester) for Hospitality and Tourism.
- Another very important, but often overlooked factor is location. There’s lots to say on location because it can add so much to your overall experience of living and studying abroad.
London is the most population destination, which you might expect – a huge percentage (29 percent) of international students in the UK study in London. Now it’s a great choice because London is a fabulous city with world class attractions, easy transportation and loads to do. If you’re not from a major city yourself, you also get that ‘big city buzz’ which can add so much more to your overall experience.
But London is very expensive, especially for the accommodation. If you want to be close to the city but not right in the centre then Brunel, Roehampton, Kingston, Greenwich and Middlesex universities are all technically within London but far enough out of the city centre to give you that comfort factor – all have good shopping and loads of facilities.
There are also other major regional cities with great universities – Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Newcastle and more.
If you want to travel around the country while you’re there – a great way to add to your experience – then it’s better to choose a central location. Exeter is a great city and has an amazing university but it’s tucked away in the south-west corner of England. If you wanted to travel, for example to visit Edinburgh in Scotland, it would take you all day to get there. The train system is very efficient, especially the Eastern line between London and Edinburgh, and it’s cheap if you book early and choose a non-peak travel time AND there’s discounts for students. Good centrally located or well-connected cities are Peterborough, Leeds, York, Leicester and Newcastle, which are all on that Eastern line; then there’s Bristol to the west and Birmingham in the midlands and connecting to the north-west.
Whichever location or university you choose, it is a great place to continue your education. If you are struggling with your decision, then ask us for help – Red Fox is here to help you if you want a consultation with one of our knowledgeable British educators.