Studying a degree is a significant commitment and it’s a big decision. More than 20,000 don’t start their second year so it’s really important to make sure you get as much information as possible to help you make the decision that’s right for you.
1. Subject first
Which degree will best suit you? For example, there is a difference between Film Business & Screen Entrepreneurship and say Media Studies, so you need to do your homework.
League tables give some idea, but also look at uni websites. Most courses give a course overview to give a sense of what topics you’ll cover across the degree. Are there similarities or differences in the courses you like?
2. University next
Just because a university offers your preferred degree subject and ranks well doesn’t mean it’s the best place for you. Reach out to current students via social media and forums – ask them about their experience at the university, try TheStudentRoom.co.uk, groups on Facebook etc… also check-out the university’s Insta account – get a feel for what people are responding to and how they are responding.
If you haven’t already, as soon as you can book on an Open Day – you’re probably going to have to apply whether you’ve visited the uni or not at this late stage, but before you accept an offer, try to get to the campus – remember you will spend three or four years there and may have to move from home, so you want to make sure you will be happy.
Some Unis also offer UCAS Deadline open days or open house a week before the January 15 deadline.
Also, check out…
- How easy it is to get to class (are your halls miles away?)
- Are you on campus or in a city?
Knowing these things will make it easier to make a decision when the offers start coming in.
3. Think about the future
The decisions you make about where and what to study are only part of the story. Find out:
- If you get to do work experience
- Does the university offer any relevant partnerships with industry and / or are there sandwich course options with a year in industry?
- Also, look at employability rates for the university as a whole and your field of study. At my institution, 87% of our students are working within the creative industries within six months of graduating. This is very different from marketing puff saying ‘a high percentage of graduates are working’ – get the facts!
4. Know what and when
Universities know how scary the UCAS application process can be, so every candidate who applies for our courses is assigned a dedicated Admissions Manager (most other unis offer this too) who will help talk you through the process, from researching a course to personal statements and student finance.
Even if you aren’t currently studying a “relevant” subject, don’t discount applying to a course that really interests you. We, like other institutions, consider all applications where students have demonstrated a passion for the industry/subject.
To help you learn more about the course that you’re interested in, make sure you call the university as soon as you can and have a list of questions at hand and… make sure you know about any open days, workshops and / or applicant visits BEFORE you accept an offer.
Dr Lisette Johnston is a former BBC World News editor and the Head of School at ScreenSpace a unique collaboration between MetFilm School and the University of West London offering two undergraduate degrees: BA Film Business & Screen Entrepreneurship and BA Content, Media and Film Production. www.screenspace.ac.uk