What to consider when choosing a UK university: Tips from the University of York

Are you thinking of applying for a Chevening Scholarship? One of the hardest parts of the application process is deciding where to study! But luckily our partners at the University of York have some tips to help you.

1. Don’t just go for the big names!

There are more than 160 universities in the UK, and the educational quality across the board is very high.

When selecting a university to complete your Chevening year at, keep an open mind, and don’t just opt for the names that you already know.

Think about what you want to get out of your study and what kind of learning environment would work best for you. Many students, for example, are drawn to the University of York because we are known for being a dynamic, research-intensive university.

We work collaboratively in partnership with institutions across the world to develop life-saving discoveries and new technologies that tackle some of the most pressing global challenges.


2. Look at subject rankings, not just the overall university ranking

Every university has its own area of strength.

For instance, here at the University of York, we are ranked 29th in the world for Social Policy and Administration, an area that is particularly popular for Chevening Scholars!

We also have six other departments ranked in the QS World Top 100.

Truly understanding why you want to study at particular university, beyond surface level factors like reputation and location, will only help to strengthen your Chevening application, highlighting to assessors that you are serious about achieving your career goals and have done your research on how you are going to get there.


3. Find your dream masters 

Similarly to the last point, you’ll find many specialist masters in the UK that you may not find in your home country, so take the time to conduct lots of online research to identify the degrees that will equip you with the right skills, experience, and connections to enable you to fulfil your career goals when you return home.


  • the modules (classes) taught
  • the research that your university department might be involved in
  • the facilities available to you
  • any additional opportunities open to you

At York, we have some very specialist expertise in areas such as:

Our human rights students also benefit from the fact that York was the UK’s first ‘Human Rights City’!

We have a long tradition of hosting Human Rights Defenders at York, allowing our students to learn about best global practice from those already working in this field.  Our students also have the opportunity to participate in a fieldwork project (in York or overseas), applying their knowledge to a real-life human rights case.

Look for these ‘added value’ elements when you’re deciding on the right course for you!


4. Research what the student life is like

As well as researching the academics, you want to be sure that you feel comfortable and at home during your year in the UK. 

Look into:

  • the size of the city and university
  • whether it is a campus university or a city centre university
  • what support services are available for international students
  • what the accommodation options are
  • what the typical cost of living is
  • what the local environment is like (for example, do you like being close to the coast, nature, 24-hour nightlife?)
  • whether you would be able to continue to enjoy existing hobbies and volunteer work
  • whether there are opportunities to develop new skills and interests, and network with others.

Most universities now offer virtual visits and chat services where you can connect with current students, and find out what it’s actually like to live and study there. Make the most of these services to discover more about your shortlisted universities, so that you can feel confident you’ve made the right choice for you.


5. Make use of the university help available

Most universities will have a webpage for your country and an International Officer dedicated to supporting applicants from your region. For example, at the University of York we offer lots of country-specific information online.

If you are unsure whether you qualify for a particular degree, or need any support with the application process, don’t be afraid to email and ask.

We’re here to help! And look forward to hopefully welcoming you to the UK very soon.

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