There's a lot of websites out there, articles out there telling you where to go, how to choose where to go and general advice - these are things I will at some point cover I'm sure - but right now, let's cover why I chose my university. If you're in sixth form or college, saying your next move is a big one is an understatement. Growing up, I was a huge ASAP science fan - that's probably more of an understatement - and I remember watching this one video on going to university. Don't worry I'm not about to get all scientific. In their video, Mitch and Greg explained how your intelligence and your mentality sees different academic results based on where you choose.
What I mean, or what they mean, is that someone of high intelligence, for example, could have the opportunity to go to Oxford or somewhere such as Exeter or York. Each of these universities would be a privilege to go to; each of them is demanding in their own right and equally an extraordinary opportunity. But when we think of Oxford and Cambridge, arguably there's a bigger pressure to succeed. Depending on how the said someone operates, they could crack under the mounting intelligence of their peers despite their own, accomplishing academic achievement at a university where they feel the best and vice versa. These explorations do have a point. And ASAP science have found that to be the case in most cases. Going back to why I chose my university, I wouldn't say this was a factor, but it's something I held at the back of my mind and something I believe to be important no matter how intelligent or not you consider yourself. If you're applying to university, to begin with, you certainly are.
Now I chose to attend Swansea University. I applied to Nottingham, York, Bristol and Exeter too (St. Andrews was on the list, but moving from Wales to Scotland seemed too big of a jump for eighteen-year-old me). And as something who has perpetually been slightly above average, going to somewhere like Oxford or Cambridge never crossed my mind. In fact, at the time all the other universities I applied to were the early-overachiever in me coming out. The truth is for the past two years, I've excelled at university - attaining 2:1s and firsts on all of my essays. Even though it was only a small factor, being somewhere with less pressure and academic stamina served me well. Now there are a lot more reasons to why I chose to study at Swansea, the main one being that I live fairly close and because of that, I'd skip out on a little less student debt. But for any at-home student, these are quite obvious, and quite jazzy. Overall, the little voice in the back of my head wanted me to go somewhere where I knew I would feel comfortable, less tense and stressed, a place where I already knew I belonged.
Even if you aren't an at-home student, that doesn't mean you can't feel at home somewhere which isn't directly your home. I've travelled to Bath, to Bristol, to Seattle, to Amsterdam, to Houston and each of these places have felt like a home to me. I know friends that have gone off to study elsewhere and they've felt the same. As much as you can look at the rankings, the course, the graduate prospects, the societies etc., and believe me I have, but for me choosing a university that you have this unrelenting intuition about is good enough too. I've talked a lot about the academic pressures and standing of institutions, and rightly so. The way universities and schools generally approach academia, how they teach, how we learn all feeds into their ideals. Oxford is a clear example here. At Swansea University, yes the academic achievements are important, but essays don't sacrifice your experiences. So, why did I chose my university? As I've said, it's where I can be.