Deciding What, and Where, to Study at University


October 31, 2017 - Bella is Elite IB’s Head of Tutoring & Consulting, providing support to students applying to UK universities as well as overseeing our UK/Global branch’s private tuition arrangements. She attended King’s College London for her own university studies (English BA & MA), having struggled through her IB to decide what she wanted to study at university, and where, and she now tries to ensure her students have considered all the options before making a final decision!


Deciding what to spend the next three – or four! – years focusing on can be an enormously difficult decision, but students can forget to remember they won’t just be studying while at university. University is a time to build your own life, often for the first time, and so picking a course without considering the type and location of the university can lead to not having
quite as wonderful a time as you may hope for. So, what should you study at university, where should you go, and is it all worth it?

So, what should you study?

This can either be the simplest or most challenging aspect of the application process. I vividly remember being deeply envious of my friends and peers who knew precisely what they wanted from life, and so opted for degree courses which would steer them on this path- Medicine, for instance, or Law. As someone whose Science option was SL Biology, I even briefly considered whether being a GP was my future, just so that I would feel my degree was setting me up for later life – although this flirtation with the Sciences was short-lived!

Eventually I had to sit down with myself and consider why I was going to university- for me, university was an opportunity to spend time discussing things that I love with exceptional lecturers and peers, and was not solely geared towards my later working life. This allowed me to decide to pursue my first love, English Literature, and I began to read course descriptions at a range of universities. However, not all applicants are lucky enough to have studied their desired course before university– whether due to being unable to study this at their pre-university level (such as Law on the IB) or to discovering the discipline too late to focus on it at a pre-university level. So, how do you know which course to study?