Choosing a course

Our how to choose a course section contains information and resources to help you consider the right course for you.

If you are returning to education after some time away, you may also have some additional factors to consider when making your decision.

  • Your reasons for choosing higher education – perhaps you are looking to progress in your career or retrain to work in a new industry. Or you might be interested in learning more about a particular subject. Reflecting on your reasons for going to uni can help you to focus on the type of course to look for.

  • Your personal circumstances – there can be a lot of things to think about when deciding if higher education is for you. Are you able to move and find accommodation at a university away from home, or would you prefer to stay at home and study locally? Perhaps you would prefer to undertake a part time course, or distance learning? Our about higher education section provides information on different types of higher education options. You may have caring responsibilities or financial commitments to consider. Our practical advice and support page offers information on the practical support and guidance you can access during your higher education journey.

  • Types of courses available - you may not wish to undertake a full Bachelor’s degree (typically 3- or 4- years), in which case you could consider other types of undergraduate courses such as a foundation degree, a higher or degree-level apprenticeship, or a work-based qualification such as a Higher National Diploma (HND). More information on these can be found in our about higher education section. You can use Discover Uni to search for undergraduate courses across the UK by university, college or course.

  • You may have left school without formal qualifications, or hold different qualifications than is typically requested for the courses you are interested in. Universities and colleges usually recognise the experience and benefits older students bring. Their entry requirements for mature students may also differ from those advertised for school leavers, so it’s always worth contacting their admissions team. A Higher Education Access course can also prepare you for your return to study – the Access to HE website has more details.

  • If you’re concerned about returning to study, there are also lots of short courses, many are free, which you can find online.  These range from refreshing your study skills to short subject courses.  You can find more information in our useful links section below.

  • Universities and further education colleges welcome students returning to education, and some have a higher proportion of older students than others. You may also want to research how your chosen institution can offer support for your particular needs. Their websites should provide details, and they will be happy for you to contact them directly to talk through your circumstances.
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