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How to choose a university course

Some people know exactly what career they want, and will spend all their time at school and college working towards that goal. But for most of us, it’s not that easy. There are so many professions and career options, it can be really tricky to narrow things down.

We understand that choosing what you want to study at university is a big decision, and not always an easy one to make, so read our brief guide to help you choose the right course for you.

Not sure where to start? What subjects interest you?

If you don’t have a specific job in mind, but know that you’d like to continue your education, think about any subjects that you enjoy or that particularly interest you. This is a good place to begin, as it will really help you stay motivated if you’re studying a subject that you’re passionate about.

It also means that once you graduate, you’ll be in a position to apply for jobs that you should enjoy too, as these will be related to your field of study.

Know what career you’d like, but not sure about the best course?

You may have a clear idea about what career you’d like to embark on once you finish university, but aren’t sure about which course is the most appropriate. Begin by searching for courses in that subject area and see what is available where. The UCAS website is your best starting point. Remember that even if courses from different universities have the same name, the course content can vary significantly, so compare modules and units of study before you make a decision.

Another great way to work out the most appropriate degree for the career you have in mind is to look at what qualifications employers in that sector are looking for. By doing this, you may find that taking a course that provides a particular industry accreditation could give you a headstart when you enter the jobs market, or that one university offers specific modules that teach you the skills employers are searching for. At BU, we have 33 industry accreditations for our courses covering a range of industries.

Is work experience important?

We offer all of our undergraduate students the opportunity to go on a placement, but that’s not something that’s available at every university. If having work experience is important to you, make sure you check whether the courses you’re planning to apply for offer this as part of their programme, either on a mandatory or optional basis.

Look beyond a name

Different universities give their courses different titles and sometimes this can be a little confusing. Don’t only assess a course based on its title, as the content may be exactly what you’re looking for even if that isn’t clearly expressed through the course name.

Read the details about each course, checking what modules are included and what subject areas are covered. This is also the best way to compare courses at different universities to work out which will be most appropriate for you.

You can also use what's known as the Key Information Set (KIS) to help compare courses across universities. These statistics are compiled for every undergraduate course offered by universities in the UK and give you an easy way to compare key differences between courses and universities.

Check course assessments

At undergraduate level, courses can be assessed in many ways, from exams and coursework to portfolio development and practical tests.

If you know that you don’t perform particularly well in exams, for instance, you may want to see if you can find a course that is assessed predominantly on coursework or your portfolio. If, on the other hand, you struggle to motivate yourself to turn essays in on time, you may perform better if you have more exams to tackle and fewer assignments throughout the year.

If you’d like to chat through your options please get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.