university diaries

University Diaries: Choosing Your Top 5


Hey guys!

As I’m sure most of you who are applying/have applied to University will know, there is a point where you have to choose up to five Universities to apply to on UCAS. (Don’t worry if you don’t know what UCAS is- it’s the British system of applying to University. If you live in a different country, you’ll probably have an equivalent) If you’re anything like me, who basically went on a tour of England when looking at Universities, this decision can be quite difficult, so that is why I chose to write about this very important part of the University process.

Linking back to the post about Open Days, I think it’s important to actually go and see the University you are interested in. Just looking online isn’t the best way, because I’m 90% sure that the University will edit the photos of the campus to make it look as good as possible (I mean, they are trying to get you to apply).

This happened to me. I was going to look at this one University which I won’t name, and on the website the buildings looked pristine, and white and shiny and new, but when I got there, it was all concrete and grey, and a bit old fashioned. Like it had been built 30 years ago, and no one had tried to renovate it. This was disappointing because the course was fantastic, but I would definitely say that the look of the University has an impact on your decision. You will be studying there for at least 3 years.

Going to the actual University also allows you to get a sense of the place, and see how far away it is from home. Usually people will ask “can you imagine yourself living and studying here?” If the answer is yes, then it’s a pretty good indicator that this might be one of the universities added to your Top Five.

Similarly, when you find the right University for you, you will have a gut feeling. The course will be great. The campus will be great. That’s all you need to influence your choice. As some of you will know, my first choice was Birmingham (even though I didn’t get in… oops), and I just felt like it was right. And please remember that this is your choice. Not your parents! Of course you should listen to their advice, but if you like or dislike a University, then that’s up to you to decide.

Remember that the reason you choose up to five Universities initially is so that you can pick a Top Two as your firm and insurance choices. So make sure that you genuinely like all the Universities you are applying to. I had a couple which I knew would be my Top Two, but just make sure that you’re not just picking the other three because you have to.

This leads me onto my final point. You don’t have to choose five Universities. My friend only put down two choices, because she wanted to do Script Writing, and there were very few places which did it. If you’re doing a course like English, which is more common, then I would strongly advice you not to put down two choices. You never know what might happen during the exam or on results day. I know I said it’s important you like the Universities you put down, but you’re always going to like some places more than others. So just be careful when it comes to that!

So those are some of my tips for choosing your Top Five! I hope this has helped, and as always, if you have any other comments, tips or questions, feel free to comment below!

-The Storyteller

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