How to choose the right university in UK?
Congratulations on your choice to pursue your master’s degree aboard. If you are still undecided, you should read this post on 5 REASONS TO CONSIDER YOUR MASTER’s PROGRAM ABROAD – CLICK HERE. If you’ve decided to study abroad, the next step is to decide on the course you are interested in followed by the nation you want to study in. I am going to leave these two action points with you because it needs to decide only by yourself.
Once you’ve decided on the course and the country, the next step would be choosing the right university and it is not an easy decision to take as well. I chose a master’s in Project management as I’m interested in managing projects, etc. and chose the United Kingdom because it is well-known for management studies, so I’ll use those as an example here. In this article, I will be sharing my thoughts and suggestions on how to choose the right university in the UK along with my thoughts on how to choose the right university in UK.
#1 Understanding the Rankings
Every year, numerous organizations rank higher education institutions. These rankings, which are based on a variety of factors, are consolidated to assist forthcoming students in making decisions about where they want to study. For instance, The QS World University Rankings place a strong emphasis on research and reputation but do not consider teaching quality or student feedback. Other organisations, such as the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings and the Complete University Guide, place a greater emphasis on research excellence and student satisfaction.
Understanding the rankings is a good starting point for your research, but it won’t tell you everything you need to know about which university is best for you. Understanding what different rankings are based on can help you make an informed decision. Rankings for specific subjects, for example, can differ significantly from rankings for university overall quality. I would recommend you to create an excel sheet and fill in all the findings you get on the ranking from all perspectives which will be helpful to make the decisions later. I’ve also attached my findings on some of the top universities in UK in the tips and recommendations section below.
#2 Comparing the Universities
Once you’ve prepared a list of universities you are interested to join with all the rankings, etc, now comes the HAMMER TIME. I would highly recommend you to spend some good time on this and do proper research on each university. To simplify this, below are some of the factors you need to bear in mind while selecting the top priorities.
- Are the institutions recognised by UK authorities to award UK degrees?
- How do they measure up in terms of student satisfaction and support?
- How good is their career support?
- How good are their teaching standards?
- Does this university come under Russell group?
- In terms of research, how do they function?
- What makes the university stand out from others?
- How good is their support and contribution to extracurricular activities?
- Last but not the least, What are the course fees, accommodation costs, and standards like?
Figure out all these and drop in your inputs in the excel sheet. We’ll go back to them shortly.
#3 Research on the Course structure and Modules
Once you have filtered down all the universities under the course you are interested in, we need to go deep down into every single one on how good the course is structured and how detailed the modules are. At first glance, it seems that many universities offer the same course. However, upon closer inspection, the courses offered by various universities appear to be more disparate. Modules may be taught by different professors and tested in various ways (exams or essays). Some universities provide placement opportunities, while others do not offer certain modules.
Consider all of your options carefully, because you will be stuck with your decision for a year or two. Remember that if you are not an academic, look for a course that will give me more hands-on experience rather than a theory-based programme. Create a column for how you will be taught and assessed by each university. It can include things like how many exams, essays, or group projects a course has, as well as the course content. This will provide you with a clear understanding of the course you are interested in from some of the top universities in UK.
#4 Choosing the Location
Universities can be found throughout the United Kingdom, from large bustling cities to quiet coastal towns. When deciding on a location, it’s worth considering the following in mind:
- Would you rather live in a big city, a small town, or somewhere quieter?
- Do you have any extracurricular interests?
- Do you have any family, friends, or other connections in the UK that you would like to be close to or easily accessible to?
- Have you looked into the cost of living?
- Do you want to study in England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland?
Location comes at a price. Living costs vary across the UK, and this is something that many students are unaware of. Here is a heads-up. To study in London, you must have a monthly budget of £1,334 or a maximum of 9 months or £12,006 according to UK Visa and Immigration. This amount is in addition to the tuition. This is one of the basic requirements to obtain a visa to study in London. The amount will be lower in other parts of the UK. If you choose to study at universities outside of London, such as Manchester or Liverpool, you will need a minimum of £1,023 per month for a maximum of 9 months or £9207.
I’m sure you’ve already done the mental math and converted the total amount into your local currency😂. Don’t worry, this will not be the ideal amount for your living expenses in the UK. Are you feeling better? Now the UK is getting into the recession period by the end of this year, you will end up spending even more😂. Click here to know more – HOW TO PREPARE FOR A RECESSION IN THE UK? The cost of living, for example, using the metric of a pint of beer, a pint in Lancaster can cost around £2.80, but in London, expect to pay £5.20 or more.
Going back to the sheet, this might have changed your preferences on the universities by now. Don’t worry. We are not done yet.
#5 Reach out to the students
Try looking for student groups on Facebook or Twitter and asking questions there to get a more realistic, rounded picture. But the best place to reach out to the students is via LinkedIn. Wait!! you don’t have one? NOOO!! You need to read this first – 5 REASONS WHY EVERY PROFESSIONAL MUST HAVE A LINKEDIN PROFILE.
I would highly recommend reaching out to the current students via LinkedIn where you can find people specifically from your course and can ask all your queries and their feedback on the university, course structure, modules, assessments, etc. You could also look online to see if there are any blogs like JUST A LIBRARY or vlogs from students at your preferred university and see what they have to say.
why I CHOSE THE UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL?
First of all, this is not a promotional post. I am not getting paid for this. But, I WOULD LOVE TO😜!!
In short, I did all of the above research and came up with a good number of universities, and I applied to all of the top five on my list. To my surprise, I received conditional offer letters from all five universities. I was then forced to go back to research mode at these five universities. My top priority among the five points listed above was the course structure and location. I chose project management at the University of Liverpool because it was more detailed than the other four universities.
The next priority was the cost of living, as I needed to show only £9k as a living cost for the VISA. I also chose Liverpool because it is close to Manchester, one of the largest work cities outside of London. Perhaps more on this can wait🧐!! I’m writing a blog post about how I got a job in the UK. Subscribe to JUST A LIBRARY to receive updates on this post.
I hope this article has offered some insight on how to choose the right university in the UK. If you are already studying in the UK, please leave your suggestions in the comments section as they may be useful to future students. You may have also been approached by people from your home country about studying abroad. Save your time by forwarding this post to them🧐!!
I’ll see you in another post. Until then, stay tuned and stay updated to JUST A LIBRARY.