• University Selection – Key Factors

    From educational research we know that there are many factors that contribute towards choosing the ‘right’ higher education option and these factors are not all about the academic side of college life.

    The site aims to look at the College decision making process with as broad a view of each university featured as possible.

    The key issues we review are:

    Information about the town or city where the University is located
    We hope to give you a flavour of the different towns and cities in the United Kingdom where the universities we are profiling are located. We hope to help you identify universities in cities and towns that might best suit your child, as some might wish to be near family members, live in a small town or a large city, near the coast or near a major airport.

    History of the University
    We will provide information such as how long each university has had university status, what is the background to the university and why was it set up- often this still influences the priorities the university has today. We will also provide information about the number of students and the international student numbers at the university.

    Annual tuition fees for courses provided for international students at both undergraduate and post-graduate (taught) level.

    Are most university buildings/accommodation on one main site? Or spread across a city-some parents worry about this from the point of view of safety and transport. Where transport is needed we identify transport provision provided by the University.

    Accommodation Availability
    Having access to affordable university managed accommodation-halls of residence -can be a very important factor in making sure your son/daughter settles well, especially, if this is their first time away from home. We review accommodation options and highlight the cheapest self catering, single occupancy room rate for each university.

    There is a vast difference between the student facilities offered by different universities. For many parents and students this is an important factor, as sport or cultural amenities can matter a great deal to certain students.

    Degree Focus
    Both the history of a university and its research focus can give a good indication as to where the universities ‘specialisms’ lie. To evaluate this, we refer to research data produced by the government-the Research Excellence Framework (REF). This detailed information looks at key subject areas of research and grades the quality of research in each subject area, by university. In our guides we highlight all subject areas where at least 60% of the research conducted in these specific fields have scored 3 or 4 stars. (4 stars being the highest ranking).

    In a highly competitive world, often the choice of university is as important as the course itself. We provide Times Higher Education & Shanghai Jaio Tong World University Ranking details (Top 400 – excluding London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Open University as these 2 universities do not offer a full range of comparable data versus other listed universities) plus we highlight Russell Group universities.

    We also reference the results of the annual National Student Survey. This survey asks students, mainly in the last year of undergraduate degree study, 23 questions related to issues such as; overall student satisfaction, academic support and course teaching. Typically the survey is completed by over 250,000 students each year.

    Online courses
    As the cost of education shows no sign of leveling out, we also highlight online courses that are available, at each university. Online courses offer great flexibility as they can be studied part time and also they are much cheaper, as there are no accommodation costs associated with an online degree. We also highlight online programmes offered by FutureLearn here. FutureLearn is the leading provider of online courses based in the UK, working with over 140 Universities worldwide. It is 50% owned by The Open University, which is the UK’s largest academic institution.

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