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Your guide to choosing a university course
Choosing what you want to study at university can be a difficult decision, especially when you have had much less time at college/sixth-form this year to explore your current subjects. This guide therefore provides advice on how to choose a course, including:
  • What to base your decision on
  • Course selection checklist
  • Ambassador advice - how did they choose their course?
  • Additional support
As always, you can talk to our current students at any time to ask for advice and guidance using the UniBuddy link below:
What to base your course decision on
There are over 50,000 courses to choose from so no wonder it can be a difficult process! Some of the courses will cover subjects that you have studied at school previously, whereas others will be subjects that are brand new to you. At Sussex University alone there is a huge breadth of courses available, from Astronomy to Zoology. Keep this in mind, and look beyond the more well-known course options to those you may not have thought of before.

 Here are some factors to consider when choosing a course:
The subject area:
- What do you enjoy doing now? What are you good at?
- What are you already studying that you'd like to explore further?
- Would you like to try a new subject that is related to your interests?
- Explore the different subjects you can study at university
- See where your A Level/BTEC subjects typically lead to
Your career goals:
- Do you have a job in mind? If so, you need to make sure that the course you choose will help you get there. Use this tool to find out the most common degree routes for your chosen career.
- If you don't know what you want to do in the future, don't worry! You could 
pick a subject you are interested in which is more broad and leads to a wide range of careers.
The type of course:
University allows for different options and it is a good idea to research these:
- a major/minor degree in which 75% of your course is one subject, and 25% is another
- a joint honors degree in which your course is split 50/50 between two subjects
- a 4 year course with a placement year or year abroad.
Course selection checklist
When you get to the point that you think you have made your course selection, go through the checklist below:
1. Are you 100% interested in the subject? You will be studying it for at least three years so there is no point choosing something you don't like or enjoy!
2. Have you checked the course modules? Remember that even though the course title might be the same, the course modules will vary depending on the provider. Look into the modules in detail, and check that they cover the areas of the subject/s that you are most interested in.

3. How is the course assessed? Again this will vary with different universities. Some will be nearly all exam-based, some will be coursework-based and some will be a mixture of the two. Think about how you learn and perform best and use this to make your decision. 

4. What are the course requirements? You might need to study specific A Level subjects as well get certain grades. Are you confident that you will meet these? Be realistic.

5. Will the course help you reach your career goals? Remember, you can check job profiles to see what the requirements are, such as a certain type of degree. 

If you are happy with your answers to the above questions, then you have made the right decision on your course!
Ambassador advice
Becca is a current student at the University of Sussex. She knew she wanted to study Psychology and in the video below she explains how she chose the right course for her:

Additional support

For more detailed guidance on choosing a course and to see the different courses available, access the links below:

UCAS: Choosing a course
The Uni Guide: What should I study?
What Uni: How to pick a degree
UCAS: Course search

We're here to help

We're always available via email so please get in touch if there is anything else we can support you with.
We wish you the best of luck in your next steps,
The Widening Participation team

Widening Participation
Essex House G19
University of Sussex

T: 01273 876810

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