It’s been a long time coming but, finally, in the last few years the realm of university advice has seen a significant shift away from paper resources and towards the internet age. Having spent the majority of my early career directing people to the careers library to sift through Brian Heap books, this is refreshing progress indeed – not that there is anything wrong with Brian Heap books of course, but it is nice to feel we are living in the 21st century. And let’s face it, it’s better for our students, who are much more used to receiving information in this format.
But are we, as careers advisers, keeping up to date with the resources on offer? Let’s take a quick look at a small selection of website resources currently available to help prospective uni students research their choices, and consider some of their unique advantages of each.
The Student Room
Best known for its forums where prospective students have the chance to chat with each other about their applications and choices, as well as those who have been there and done it, this site actually offers much more than just (largely) uncensored opinions. Its ‘Articles’ section (TSR Wiki) gives great factual information on, for example, the format of interviews offered at different universities and profiles on the universities themselves. This website goes beyond Year 12/13 support to give undergraduates useful information on career choices and a range of lifestyle issues.
Its easy to use ‘Find a course’ section gives useful information for those in the planning stages, such as percentage of applicants receiving offers and most popular A levels studied by students before attending. However, perhaps one of the main selling points of this site is the time and energy they have clearly invested in a large number of blog posts – over 270 to be precise – written by experts and presented in bite-sized chucks that will no doubt appeal to young people and parents alike.
The Complete University Guide
Whilst visually quite text-heavy, this site provides some specialist information often overlooked by the other sites. For example, if you are looking for information on MBAs or other postgraduate courses, or if you are an international student coming into or going out of the UK to study then this is worth a look. Also, it provides a useful ‘Ask a Question’ facility for students who are struggling to get the information they need.
Compare the Uni
It does what it says on the tin – the major advantage of this site is that it allows students to very easily compare up to 3 of their choices directly, by subject and across a range of criteria, with information displayed on the same page. Official rankings lists are also very easily accessible.
And let’s not forget…UCAS
More than just a conduit for applications and advice for the process itself, the UCAS website will remain a great starting point for research for many students with a search facility which leads to useful course and university profiles. And, for us, there’s a whole plethora of useful data analysis on application trends.