UCAS points, open days, firm or insurance choices… A lot of effort goes into how you choose your university. Many of us may remember the stress that the process of applying to university put us through. It’s one of the most important things you can do as an 18 year old – up there with exams and thinking of the best way to offensively wear your school uniform on the last day.
It’s not to be taken lightly and many people end up dissatisfied with their choice. So is there a method to the madness? And if so, what’s the best way to choose your university? The good people at QS did a study on it and here are the headlines…
Official websites reign supreme
In news that may or may not surprise you, the study says that students are still overwhelmingly using official websites to research universities before they go. Shocking, when you think back to the amount of hours you spent on the Good University Guide. But no matter how fast everything else is moving, uni websites dominate with 71% deeming it the most essential tool for choosing universities.
But social media’s catching up
All that said, you can’t front on Facebook. While social media, chat rooms and forums weren’t a huge factor in making final decisions, a large chunk of students used it to ‘generate initial ideas’. Aside from Facebook, YouTube was the second-most used platform by students, showing how much more influence video is having on decisions young people make.
Nobody’s thinking of moving too far away
Of all the tools people are using to choose universities, the one they’re not using so much is a map. Less than half of the students interviewed were interested in studying at an international university, with just 4% saying that they might be interested in future. Just goes to show how rich that British uni life is.
There’s still information that students can’t find
It hasn’t been all plain sailing with the university research process. There’s still information prospective students aren’t getting despite all the resources out there. Crucially, scholarship and financial information seems to be among the most elusive things students don’t find during the application process. Not only does that lead to more regret, but it’s bad news for social mobility too.
Perhaps most damning of all, it seems the days of the university fair are numbered. 5 times the amount of survey respondents found online resources more useful than offline ones. The fairs of the future? Laptops and smartphones. Students used these for 90% and 62% of their research respectively.