When college lessons expenses had been introduced across the United Kingdom in 1998 – a thieve then at £1,000 a year – prospective students and their dad and mom pricked up their ears. Footing an invoice for higher training has made deciding on the right university direction even more crucial. In the 2 many years given that, now not most effective have fees elevated almost tenfold, so has the quantity of information to be had approximately universities and courses.

“Think approximately your aspirations and the way a higher-education course would possibly flow you nearer closer to those dreams,” advises Chris Hale, director of policy at Universities UK. “Universities are pretty huge church buildings. It’s no longer all about that three-12 months residential course; there might be diploma apprenticeships or distance gaining knowledge of opportunities.”

With professional help, here we highlight the ten matters to search for in your search:
1. Entry necessities

UCAS purchaser-experience supervisor Courteney Sheppard recommends making use of to various universities: “Challenge yourself. Have one or two picks that might be a stretch, one or two inside the safe zone and a couple in which you believe you studied you will be pretty sure of having those effects.”
2. Course shape

“Not all courses are created in the same manner,” cautions Hannah Morrish, student choice and better training lead at The Student Room (TSR), the UK’s largest online student community. “Course titles are probably similar, but they gained’t have the identical content, modules or strategies of evaluation. Rather than simply thinking about yr one, have a look at how the path develops over its duration.”

Sandwich years in the industry have become extra popular, says Sheppard: “Look into what which means – does the university assist college students at the same time as they’re of their 12 months in the industry? It is normally pretty top for CV revel in, but factor in that you need to come lower back and do another yr of mastering after being in the workspace.”

Visit college web sites for a breakdown of modules and to see what number of are obligatory or can be decided on. “It’s crucial to apprehend what you have become yourself into,” Sheppard notes.
3. University ratings

These are calculated in a different way depending on which league table you read, despite the fact that a college’s research output has a tendency to significantly affect its function. “The data can’t let you know the entirety. Go to open days and meet current students,” encourages Hale.

“Should I visit a Russell Group college or a specific one?” is one of the most common threads on The Student Room’s peer-to-peer online forums, reports Morrish: “As an emblem of universities, the Russell Group is certainly robust, however, they are in large part studies institutions and their role inside the league desk doesn’t provide you with a perception into how you may feel whilst you are sitting there in a lecture corridor.

“There are newer universities which have real strengths in certain fields and you may choose the vibe at them. Remember, you will decide your personal fulfillment, so the happier you’re, the more you’re going to get out of the enjoy.”
4. Graduate effects

Do research average salaries earned with the aid of a path’s graduates, however, keep in mind that these fluctuate depending on where in the united states of America people paintings, and that some professions – along with jobs in the arts or nursing – are greater about making a difference than salary final results.

“Understand the context of the earnings information,” advises Hall. “Some students put their hearts to at least one facet,” notes Morrish. “Those statistics provide a guide, but you’ve got the electricity to be a fulfillment, and you have to be inside the proper area to flourish.”
five. Retention

“I wouldn’t place too much faith in drop-out prices, as they may be based on something, actually,” feels Sheppard. That said, retention figures do make contributions to a university’s Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework rating, better referred to as TEF, whose gold, silver and bronze accreditations are provided primarily based on records together with how many students keep their course from one year to the subsequent, graduate consequences, access qualifications and consequences from the National Student Survey (NSS) (see underneath).