Choosing a course

Choosing a course/university

Like all parents, you will want your son or daughter to go to a reputable university that offers a high quality education. Here are some things you should consider when helping them to choose where to study.

Subject: bear in mind that not all course are the same. Look at the course descriptions in the institutions' prospectuses. Does the course your son or daughter is interested in offer a wide range of options, the opportunity to study overseas, or work placements in industry? It is always advisable to compare courses between institutions.

What to study: some career paths will dictate the degree your child will study for: medicine, law, nursing, engineering, for example. But remember that having a degree in itself will give your son or daughter a huge advantage in the job market. Degrees in languages, the arts, business and social sciences are as much of interest to employers as the more "career focused" degrees.

You can use the course finder on the right to learn more about the range of programmes we offer.

Academic excellence: the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education reviews institutions and publishes reports on their website. Teaching quality reports can be found here.

News: take a good look at each institution's website (and search the internet generally) to find out what is going on. What sort of impression do you get of the "buzz" of the university? What successes (academic, sporting, research) are the institutions reporting? What new initiatives? A university that has a lot of positive, interesting stories to report is likely to offer a more vibrant atmosphere.

Social life: The last thing you want to do is see your child struggle through a degree at a university where they are unhappy. Think about the social life each institution offers - not just the pubs and clubs, but the location, facilities and community. If you can, visit each university your son/daughter is interested in to get real feel for them.

Employability: how employable are graduates from the institution your child is considering? For instance, 92% of Swansea's graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating. (HESA data, 2009/2010)

Accreditation: Some vocational courses are accredited by professional organizations such as the Engineering Council or the British Psychological Society. It is always worth taking the time to check whether the course your child is interested in is accredited.