How to decide between offers
How to decide between offers
First, you decide what course you want to study. Then, you decide which universities to apply to. But the decisions don’t stop there. When your admissions offers come in (exciting!), you’ll have to decide which one to accept.
For some lucky students, the process is easy. They get an unconditional offer to their top-choice university, and they know they want to accept.
But for most, this is a decision that requires a lot of thought. Some students don’t have their heart set on a particular university. Others get a conditional offer with entry requirements that they may not be able to meet. Others may keep going back and forth between two universities, not knowing which is best for them.
When you don’t know which offer to accept, what should you do?
Here are some helpful steps to making an informed decision on which university offer to accept.
- Research: Research makes a huge difference. Where you choose to go to university is a big decision, and you should take it seriously. Your happiness as a student may very well depend on it! Make sure to take a close look into the content of your potential course modules, student satisfaction rankings, graduate employment statistics, the location of the university and any additional factors that are vital to achieving your dream student experience.
- Visit: If you haven’t already, go and visit the universities you’re deciding between. Seeing a place in person is an entirely different experience from looking through photos in a prospectus or online. If possible, go during term time to get an authentic feel for what a university is like (avoid exam times, however, as this can give an overly gloomy impression of hordes of stressed students overcrowding the library). Take the opportunity to speak to faculty members and current students.
- Pros and Cons: Make a list of pros and cons based on the things you want in a university. Consider things like:
- accommodation options/costs (single room vs. roommate, self-catered vs. catered, en-suite vs. communal bathrooms, etc.)
- location (city? country? small town?)
- campus type (self-contained or mixed in with the wider city/town?)
- availability of work placements and extracurricular activities (sports, societies, evening language courses, etc.)
- facilities (gym, laboratories, car parks, etc.)
- size of the university (i.e. is it a large university with tens of thousands of students, or a small university with a couple thousand students?)
- Consider your options carefully: For UCAS applications, if your offers are conditional, pay close attention to the entry requirements for each. It’s important to be realistic when selecting your first (firm) choice, although there is room for a little ambition. What’s even more important is being smart about your back-up (insurance) choice, if you decide to select one. You want to make sure that your back-up is a university where you would really want to study, but that the entry requirements are more achievable than your first choice.
When all is said and done, your lists tallied and the ink dry on your research notes, you should hopefully have a fairly good idea of which university is best for you. However, if you are still vacillating between your choices, then just go with your gut. After all, if your heart isn’t set on one university in particular, chances are you’re going to settle in quite well wherever you decide to study!