Choosing the right university for you: Your career and your future

University isn't just about getting a job when you graduate - but it's still worth considering how your choice of uni could affect your career.University isn’t just about getting a job when you graduate – but it’s still worth considering how your choice of uni could affect your career.

Graduate destinations

All universities in the UK have to report on what their graduates are doing six months after leaving university. This gives you basic information on how many are working full-time, working part-time, doing further study, unemployed and so on. However, it won’t tell you what kind of jobs they’re doing, or how the results vary for graduates from different subjects.

Many universities collect more detailed information. This might be available online the university’s website: check the careers department’s website and the website of the department you are interested in. If you can’t find anything, get in touch with the university directly to find out if they have any information they can give you.

Transferable skills

As well as the specifics of your subject, university can teach you a variety of skills that are valuable in your career, such as research, organization and communication. Most courses will help you to build these skills, but some universities offer extra opportunities to build your skills, such as workshops and seminars. As well as helping you to improve, these will also give you a way to demonstrate your skills to employers.

Reputation

While it’s true that your university’s reputation can affect your career, many employers won’t be all that interested in where you studied: your results, experience and attitude will be much more important. Reputation may matter more if you are thinking of moving on to postgraduate study.

If you are looking at reputation, remember that it will vary by subject. Most university rankings will break down their results by subject to give you a better idea.

Work experience and industry links

Work experience can make a huge difference to your career, and some universities are more able to help than others. Many universities have close links with particular industries, often based on the research that they do or simply their location. This can give you access to placements or help you onto graduate schemes.

Some universities also offer ‘sandwich courses‘, in which students spend a year on a work placement, giving you the chance to get substantial work experience before you graduate.

Postgraduate study and beyond

If you are interested in postgraduate study or going into academia as a career, it will help to do your undergraduate degree at a university with a good research record. You won’t necessarily choose to apply to the same university for postgraduate study, but even if you don’t, you’ll gain more useful skills, experience and contacts.

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