With A-level exams looming, it’s easy for us youngsters to picture the university lifestyle as one big party. But, before eagerly waving your parents goodbye and finally having the freedom you’ve always wanted, it’s essential to make sure that university really is for you. Think about it, deciding to go to uni is one of the biggest decisions you’ll probably ever have to make! Choosing what to study for three years certainly isn’t easy, let alone having to take into consideration other important factors like location, cost and of course, the all-important social life (hard workers love to play hard too, right?!) And so, on that note, here are a few tips to ensure that your university application runs as smoothly as possible!

1. No pressure!

So, all of your friends want to study Sociology and you can’t get enough of Shakespeare! It seems like a big deal – leaving behind all of your friends, but there’s nothing you would regret more than following your friends’ ambitions and not your own! Always bear in mind that everybody at uni is in the same boat as you, and once you start, making new friends will come naturally. Remember, going to university is no-one’s choice but your own, so make sure you choose your course wisely. After all, you’re going to be studying it for three years!

2. Yay – freedom at last…

Finally, a chance for you to escape your overprotective parents and live in a place of your own! After 18 long years, the thought of spending any more time under your parent’s roof might make you feel a little queasy. Yet, in the long run, choosing a uni that’s hundreds of miles away from home simply for that reason may not work out to be a good idea. The average student puts aside around £300 a year for visiting home. Being a skint student, that’s a heap of money that you could do without spending. As well as this, imagine having to traipse up and down the country every few months by car, train or even plane! Although the idea of being independent seems brill, it won’t be long before you’re blubbering on the phone to your Mum telling her how much you miss her cooking! With this in mind, when deciding your five uni choices, distance is a key factor to think about!

3. Party onnnnn! Or not so much…

When thinking of university, the majority of prospective students will envisage all-night parties, cheap drinks, and all of those bizarre societies that you can’t wait to sign-up to but will probably never keep at. Although this is a huge part of life at uni, it is not the most important thing to consider. Extreme Frisbeeing may sound like an epic way to spend your Wednesday evening after a long day of lectures, but it shouldn’t take priority over your studies. If you’re thinking of going to uni simply for the social life, think again before applying! Make sure you really do want to study, as in the end, exams and dissertations are way more important than beating your mates at table tennis!

4. Money hurts

Nobody can ignore the fact that university costs a lot. However, when applying to uni, don’t let the costs dictate your decisions! It’s useful to think of university as an investment, rather than paying out a huge lump of money each year. There are plenty of loans, scholarships and bursaries available to make paying back as easy as possible! It’s important to make sure your university choices are right for you rather than worrying about the annual fees. You would rather have a great three years than make the wrong decision for the sake of a few hundred pounds, right?

5. Exams, argh!

Exams are here and you feel like if you don’t get these grades your life is over. Even though the correct grades are basically the passport to your university journey – if you don’t get them, it’s not the end of the world! Plus, many universities are flexible and if they really like you, may still offer you a place. Also, the UCAS clearing service offers a great opportunity for you to search other courses if you don’t make your grades. For more information about clearing, follow this link:
http://www.ucas.com/students/nextsteps/clearing/

There we go. Five tips to conisder when making your decision on where to apply! Choosing the right uni is a daunting prospect, but don’t get bogged down about it. Hopefully these tips will guide you in making the right choices, and making your university application as stress-free as possible!

Written by Christie Day