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Parents and carers

Choosing a course and university

Choosing a university course can be challenging for your young person.

With thousands of courses at hundreds of institutions, how do you start to help them?

Choosing a course and university

Here are some key considerations to think about.


  • Which university offers the most relevant course?
  • What are the entry requirements?
  • What modules are included in the course? The same course can often have a different emphasis and content at a different university.
  • How will their work be assessed? Different universities have different types of assessments – some can include exams, others may have written or verbal presentations or reports as part of the process.
  • Does your young person need to study a professionally accredited course for their chosen profession – for example for nursing, law, psychology, journalism.

Open day checklist

Our open day checklist will make sure you ask the right questions.

Download our checklist


  • Does your young person want to live at home, near home or further away?
  • What type of campus would most appeal to them?
  • Do they want a single site campus where everything is all in one place or a university with different campuses?
  • Think about where the campus is based. Do they want to be in a city centre or would they be more comfortable in a rural location?
  • Have they thought about living and travel costs? How affordable is the area?


  • What facilities are available for their course, how much has been invested and how accessible are they?
  • Think about general facilities such as the library, student support services and gym. Consider work placement arrangements and the option of studying abroad. Do the sports clubs and societies suit their interests?

Choosing a university checklist

Use our checklist to determine what is most important to your young person when selecting a university.

Download our checklist

Scholarships and bursaries

Universities offer student support in the form of scholarships and bursaries. A scholarship is usually based on a student’s ability and a bursary is based on their background.

Amounts available differ but could include discounted course fees or accommodation costs or money towards travel expenses and books. For some they will have to apply, for other others they may be invited to apply, and discounts are automatic if they’re eligible.

This information is available on university websites and can really help towards study and living costs, so always check what your young person could be eligible for.


  • Compare each university's accommodation options and their costs.
  • Consider the general living costs in each area.
  • Are halls of residence or a shared house more suitable for your young person?
  • How far away is the accommodation from the campus? How will they travel there?

Social life

Making new friends and trying out new activities are an important part of university life - see what's on offer at each university's Students' Union.

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