Picking the right university is always a challenge, but usually there is one or two universities in a city and therefore choosing a university from somewhere like Manchester, Edinburgh, Portsmouth or Warwick is as much about falling in love with the city as well as the university.
When it comes to London though, there are 23 major universities and another 17 higher education institutions, not counting the international universities which have headquarters in London. It is estimated that London hosts around half a million students every year.
Bearing those statistics in mind then, it can seem a little overwhelming when it comes to choosing the right London University for you. We’ve compiled a list of questions and things to consider when it comes to choosing:
Whilst your grades, and the course will be of most importance, also think about where you would like to live – do you want to be central or would you prefer somewhere a little further out of the city, but on the transport network?
London’s a big place – so whilst some universities are located right in the heart of Central London such as Kings College, Birkbeck, and University of London, some universities are more on the outskirts such as Queen Mary, Goldsmiths and Imperial College.
London has a number of general universities such as UCL, Kings and Queen Mary, but it also has a number of specialist universities such as Imperial College which is a science-based university, the university of pharmacology, London Business School and the Royal College of Art, just to name a few. It might be that rather than attending a general university, you would rather attend a specialist university which has more in-depth courses in your field of study.
We can’t compile a list of factors when choosing a London university and not discuss the cost implications of studying in the country’s capital city. Depending on which university you choose, you may find that your costs differ greatly. For example, whilst choosing a central university means that you’ll be in the heart of the city life, you’ll also pay a higher rate for your public transport and the cost of accommodation is higher. You may find that staying in halls of residence is the only cheap option available. However, if you choose a university in zone 4 or further afield, the cost of transport and living is reduced, only slightly, but still less than the city. Here you’ll probably be able to rent a house with friends in later years and have a more traditional ‘university’ experience.
Really, when it comes to choosing a university in London, it comes down to how you want to experience city life. Are you prepared to have less money and space in order to be central, or would you prefer to be a little further afield and have a house with a garden . . . do you want to study at a specialist institution or a general one?
Whichever you choose, London is a fantastic place to study – the access to museums, music, theatre, business and economics is unrivalled anywhere else in the country, and there are a greater number of job opportunities, graduate schemes and internships in the city once you graduate.