Where to seek out information on going to university
By Kelly Fenn - Which? University
Is university your next step once you've got your Access to HE Diploma under your belt? Here are some of the best places to start planning ahead.
Knowing you want to study for a degree is one thing - actually working out the what, where, when and how is quite another! It's really worth putting in the groundwork with some early research to help you make the decision that's right for you. Here's where to get started.
Teachers and tutors
Chat to tutors on your Access course. Firstly, they will be able to offer subject expertise in their specific field and might be able to recommend university courses to look into as a starting point.
They'll also be able to help when it comes to making your application to university - including which elements of your current studies admissions tutors will be impressed by, how to make the most of skills and experiences on your application and personal statement, and how to juggle childcare and work with higher education.
Looking for bigger picture guidance? One-to-one help from a careers adviser will help you plan your next move and longer-term goals. Make the most of careers services in your area. Your college may have its own careers department, or arrange time to speak to a careers adviser via the National Careers Service. Call 0800 100 900 (8am–10pm, Monday to Sunday).
Nothing beats going out and getting a 'feel' for whether you're going to fit in somewhere - that's where a university open day can be invaluable. A successful open day trip is all about the preparation. Plan ahead by:
- getting an idea of the layout of the campus - download or print out a map
- working up a rough plan - book anything you need to in advance, including subject talks, sample lectures, taster sessions or department visits
- writing down questions you need answers to - print out one of Which? University's free open day question checklists for the subject you're interested in.
There's plenty of information out there online on university courses and applying - here are some of the more useful ones.
- Which? University: the free, independent guide to choosing and comparing degree courses and universities from Which?. Use personalised search filters to find courses that match your expected grades and subject interests, and explore university and college profiles which are packed with real-life views from students
- UCAS: the official source of university application information, and where you'll need to go to submit your application to many courses.
- Unistats - the official website for comparing UK higher education course data.
- Student finance: government information on funding and advice, including for mature students and students with dependents.
- The Student Room: comments and chat on all aspects of going to university for students and by students, with forum threads about most of the big universities.
- Our Which degree course? page: includes advice on how to narrow down your options and make the choice that's right for you.
Whether you're flicking through the printed item or browsing university websites, these can be a good way to find out more about courses you’re keen on and dig into the detail. You’ll also find information on financial support such as bursary and scholarship schemes you could be eligible for.