Career, Lifestyle

My University Experience: Finding a University Right For Me

As I write this post, A level results day is this week here in the UK. As such, I thought it would be a good time to launch my first mini series here on my blog, all about my experience at university.

I have split it all up into three, digestible posts, finding a university, the time on my course and the story of my graduation. I have also listed three of my top tips at the end of each piece.

Thinking About the Future

Back in 2012, I was preparing to leave college and lots of people were starting to think about the future. For many people, myself included, the future contained some version of university so I, like so many other people, had started the application process.

Over the years, I had endless aspirations in my life. My desires lingered from being a pilot to a dancer, to forensic pathologist, to restaurant owner, to even an architect. It was crunch time. I had to apply to do something at university, applying myself to follow just one of these winding roads.

University Research

I am from a media communications – graphic design – English language background. I researched briefly (too briefly) into some courses that were loosely associated with that I was studying and vaguely linked to what I saw myself doing in the future.

I traipsed to my fair share of obligatory interviews at universities including Central Saint Martins in London, Sunderland, Northumbria and Heriot Watt in Edinburgh. I secured an array of provisional offers. But something wasnโ€™t right. I had spent my whole life writing and being creative with media. None of the courses I had lined up seemed capable of being that, let’s say, โ€˜academically challengingโ€™.

abstract blackboard bulb chalk
I always wanted to challenge myself, whatever course I picked.

Reassessing What I Wanted

I re-assessed my life. Ultimately decided to take a year off to think about what I wanted to do. I went on a self-imposed, mini gap year to get my proverbial sh*t together, only I didnโ€™t end up going to India to wash elephants on a voyage of discovery.

Instead, I travelled a little bit, built a social media following and found some amazing friends along the way. I thought long and hard about my options. I wanted to be creative, but still be credible. At the same time, I didn’t want to do something that was so stiflingly stuffy with ‘credibility’, I’d be bored rigid for three years.

In 2013, I started the application process again. This time, I was able to make a much more informed decision. I had spent the best part of 8 months researching courses all over the world to get a better of idea of what I may like to do. When I was studying full time in college, that was something I simply didn’t have the time to do.

The second time around, my picks were a range of fashion and media based courses at universities including Solent in Southampton, Lincoln, Glasgow Caledonian, University College London and the University for the Creative Arts in Surrey.

people notes meeting team
Research is absolutely key.

The Course I Picked

During my year off, I worked hard to gear my portfolio more towards what I wanted to do – which was write. With that, combined with my A level results from the year before, I secured a range of offers across the UK, eventually settling on the University for the Creative Arts in Surrey to study Fashion Journalism.

I had applied to do this course the year before at a university closer to my home in the North, but London was calling. In September 2013 I packed my life into three suitcases and headed south. I moved myself into halls of residence and began my University Experience.

My Top Tips for Picking a University

  1. Spend as much time as possible doing your research. Universities are complicated and expensive places. It is never too early to start your research. This way, you can collect some options.
  2. Apply for a range of courses. Unless you know that you specifically want only one thing, applying for an array of courses lets you see how much each course can vary from university to university. This way, you can see exactly what you will get from each option.
  3. Go to open days. This is something I did not do until 2018, when I toyed with the idea of completing a Masters. It was not practical for me to attend open days when I was originally applying, but if you can, then absolutely go. You get a lot of information as well as a feel for your potential home for the next few years.

25 thoughts on “My University Experience: Finding a University Right For Me”

  1. This is great advice! Research is key, especially when I see so many people just looking at a rankings list and choosing the top 3 uni’s they see.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right!? It is so important to pick what feels right for you and not only what looks good on paper or to others. People shouldn’t feel guilty either in taking some time to decide because these are huge life choices we make at 18. Any other time in our life we would take ages to think it over! Thank you so much for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much! I think I would have too but that’s only looking back. My degree was right for me at the time and I have no regrets ๐Ÿ™‚ look out for the rest of the story ๐Ÿ˜‚ #comingsoon

        Liked by 1 person

  2. 100% agree! Research is so important, after all, you’re going to be spending 3/4 years of your life there. Feels so weird to look back on the application process, not something I’ve thought about since I was in that position a couple of years ago.

    -pixieskiesblog.wordpress.com xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was writing my uni experience and realised how big a part my pre-uni time was in my decision so split the story up a bit ๐Ÿ˜ƒ it feels strange to look back at the choices we have made sometimes x thank you for reading, I’m glad you could relate x

      Like

    1. It really can! That’s so brilliant that you knew something wasn’t right and went with your feeling of what would be best for you. School can put so much pressure on people to go to university and it really isn’t for everyone but I am glad I went, looking back at things x

      Like

  3. This is one of your best piece of writing. Perfect selection of words and great tips definitely gonna help loads of students and they will understand better because itโ€™s not from someone whoโ€™s 50 years old but someone whoโ€™s been there recently. Keep it up ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

    Liked by 1 person

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