UMASS Blog

Choosing the right course and university

Selecting a course you will enjoy at a place you will love studying is extremely important. You will be spending 3 or more years at your university, so it is essential to take your time to make a well-informed decision. In this blog I will be talking you through my experiences of choosing a course and university.

For A Levels I studied Chemistry, Maths and Biology. Of these subjects, Chemistry was most enjoyable and after doing some research, I knew there would be lots of career prospects with this degree. Once I had decided what I wanted to study, I then looked for the universities with the top Chemistry departments. I needed to be realistic about my predicted grades, so I spent a bit of time going through all the entry requirements. Location was also very important for me as I didn’t want to go too far north or a long from home. Manchester was as far as I thought I could handle! As  my home was in a small village, I knew I wanted to go to a city university, just for a change! I was attracted to cities like Leeds and Manchester; London, however, was just a little bit too big and I also needed to consider the higher cost of living there. I wanted to study at a Russell Group university – somewhere that is reputable, so I would have great employment prospects after graduating.

I found open days a really great way to understand more about university life. I gained far more from attending the events and speaking to current students than I could have by just reading the university website or prospectus. Information about the forthcoming University of Manchester open days can be found on the following website: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/open-days-visits/open-days/

As well as going to the open day, I also spent time in Manchester itself. I really liked the feel of the city and thought “yeah, I could really enjoy living here!”

Even after four years of living here, there are still so many things that I want to do and places to go to eat and drink, I haven’t visited the Old Trafford stadium yet either! There really is a huge wealth of places to visit in Manchester. During my second year, I was involved in putting together a student video describing all that Manchester has to offer; you can take a look here:

There were other things that attracted me to the University of Manchester too, especially the financial support they provided. I received a scholarship from the University and was given £3,000 a year on top of my student loan. This made a huge difference to my experience during first year. To find more information about funding available to students at the University of Manchester visit the undergraduate funding website: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/student-finance/

After deciding on my university, I also needed to choose which specific chemistry course I wanted to study. When studying Chemistry at Manchester, you can spend a year working in industry as part of your degree or alternatively study abroad, e.g. in North America. There are many options within the degree itself and it is the same for a lot of subjects offered by the University of Manchester. I chose to study with a year in industry, in order to increase my chances of gaining a good job after graduation.

There weren’t too many things that I was worried about before moving up to Manchester. I had been given tonnes of information from the university and also the Hall of Residence that I was moving into. I guess I was just nervous about meeting so many new people, as anyone would be! The first day itself was a little scary, but from there onwards first year was a smooth ride.

That’s all from me for now. Next month I will be writing about revision styles, including some top tips for revision, so keep in touch with the UMASS website!