Aug 23 / Darren Voss

Which place of study is right for you?

Investing in your education is a serious commitment and therefore choosing where and who to study with is a really important decision. Here are some key things to factor into your research.

Consider your own priorities

The students that often struggle most with choosing, are those who are still unsure about what they’re looking for. So, spend time thinking about what you want in the future.
What does your ideal life look like in a few years, and what can help you get there?
Write down a list of priorities to compare the pros and cons of different courses and providers. Be mindful to consider your current work/ social/ family life against the time, expense and commitment needed to study for your desired career path. 

Comparing course providers

There are many ways you can research a course provider, including reading their website, checking online reviews, and social media, but ideally you should meet course lecturers and current students for yourself. Universities and colleges usually run open days throughout the year – find upcoming open days, and If you can't visit in person you might be able to attend a virtual open day. 

The open day experience

When you're there, ask questions to build up a sense of what the provider is like. Speak with both staff and students for a rounded picture of what student life is like with them. Additionally, ask about the student support services, as you never know when you might need them, and if you need them, you might really need them.

Comparing course content
Firstly, you will need to choose the type of course you’d like to study. If you don’t know your options, you should look at the different course types and entry requirements.
If you have already decided on the type of course you would like to study, here are some things to consider when comparing different courses, and different providers:

1. Look at the modules covered in each course and identify which ones are most interesting, or relevant to your career aspiration.
2. How many lectures are there, and how much group work will be done in seminars?
3. What does the assessment at the end of each module look like? Exams, coursework, presentations, or a combination of all three?
4. Who are the tutors, and are they experts in areas you want to learn about?
5. When choosing a course, remember that not all courses with the same name are of equal quality or even contain the same content.

The course content.

Which areas of your subject are you really keen to study? Courses can vary widely between providers so it’s a good idea to dig into the detail and ask yourself which courses cater best to your interests.

Remember that there's no national syllabus for higher educational or vocational courses. So, it’s important to check that the modules/content you are interested in are covered

Do all providers offer the course you’re interested in? 

If for example you want to study veterinary science, there are only a handful of UK providers offering it, and so sometimes, your options are narrowed down straight away.

The entry requirements.
There's no point applying to a course if you're not likely to meet the essential requirements. These are usually a minimum number of UCAS points or certain grades in particular subjects, or maybe a previous qualification or experience. So be sure you already have what you need to apply.  

What other possibilities are available? 
  • Find out about what is on offer when it comes to: Opportunities to study abroad.
  • Strong connections with your future industry.
  • Opportunities for work experience, that'll look great on your CV.
  • Flexible and supported learning that will help enhance your course experience.    

The location

Do you want to stay at home (or close to home), or fancy heading to the other end of the country? Maybe distance learning is the answer if where you want to live doesn’t have a provider offering the course you want to do.  


League tables, parents, teachers, careers advisers and anyone who is anyone, will all offer an opinion about which education provider are the most prestigious and which ones will be certain to provide you with an amazing future, but the definition of a ‘good’ education provider varies from person to person and employer to employer and will also differ according to your subject area.
So while it can be useful to refer to league tables and check out graduate employment rates, ultimately the best provider for you is one that offers a course you enjoy and gets you thinking, with lecturers who inspire you, and support you.


There are several options to approach budgeting for your education. One way is to look at loans, where you would borrow money and eventually pay the amount back. Another option to consider is applying for scholarships and grants. There are a huge number of scholarships available from individual schools, foundations, governments, and businesses. Some providers offer payment plans where you can pay a monthly installment instead of a one off larger sum.

In short, do your research, be diligent and then choosing a place of learning becomes much easier once you establish which provider will deliver what you want, as well as what you need.
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