How to Choose the Right Universities to Apply To

There are hundreds of universities in the UK and many more across the world. If you've decided that you want to earn a degree qualification, there's certainly no shortage of options to choose from when it comes to deciding where you'd like to study. But with so many options, narrowing it down to just five or less to apply to can be confusing and if you like the look of several universities, it can seem downright impossible. Here are some top tips to keep in mind that may help you narrow down your choices when applying to universities.

Consider What You Want to Study:

First of all, consider what you want to study as this will be a huge factor in determining the most suitable universities for you. Most universities tend to focus more heavily on some departments more than others, even if they offer a wide range of courses. Learn as much as you can about different universities and the departments that they tend to invest in the most. Sites like UCAS offer percentages of students that go on to pursue successful careers in their chosen subject after graduating; this can help you determine which university is best for your chosen path.

Speak to Current and Former Students:

Speaking to current and former students at the universities that you have an interest in will help you get a better idea of whether or not it is the right choice for you. There are various ways to do this, including student forums like The Student Room, where you can find students from all over the UK discussing a wide variety of topics. Social media is also a good place to start as many students are in social groups that you can join to ask questions. Don't just ask about courses and teaching; find out about the campus culture and any extracurricular activities that you might be interested in, too.

Use Comparison Sites:

Comparison sites like University Compare are a great place to start when it comes to finding out more about universities that you might like to study at. University Compare allows you to search for various universities and find out more about them; for example, you can see the Southampton University ranking along with all you need to know about this university before deciding whether or not it would be a good fit for your study plans.

Visit Open Days:

Probably one of the best ways to find out more about a university and decide whether or not it's right for you is to visit an open day. These are usually held a few times throughout the academic year and allow you to get a full tour of the campus, classrooms, and facilities, and you might even be able to sit in on a lecture for your chosen subject. You'll also be able to speak to current students, see student accommodation options, and check out the student union and societies to help you get a better feel for the place and decide if you fit in.

Speak With a Careers Advisor:

While the university that you attend does not hold as much weight as your degree when it comes to helping you reach your career goals, some are better than others when it comes to preparing you for the world of work. If you have a particular career goal in mind for the future, some universities are going to be a better option for helping you achieve it. Career advisors tend to be well-versed in which universities are better choices for certain career paths, so speaking to one can help you decide on the right option for you. You can find independent careers advisors to speak to, or there may be one at your college. Careers advisors from your chosen university are knowledgeable about the different courses on offer and will be able to help you make the right choice of course.

Consider Other Factors:

Finally, think about other factors in your life that might have an effect on the university that you choose. First of all, consider how much funding you are going to receive from student finance and compare this to the cost of living for students at the universities you are considering. If there's a shortfall, will you be able to get financial help from your parents or other family members? Or will you need to get a part-time job? If you're considering working as a student, consider opportunities for work in the university city. Does the uni have job options for students? Are there pubs, bars, restaurants or supermarkets nearby that could offer you part-time work while you study?

Every university is different and there are hundreds to choose from. Keep these tips in mind when putting together your application to help you find the best place to study.

How to Learn Much More From the Books You Read

It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.

Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.

Read with a Purpose

Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.

Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.


When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.


Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.

Speed Read

You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.

Quality Reading

Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.

Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.


If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.

Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.