Where should I go, and what should I study?
Leah, Sport and Exercise Psychology BSc
Hello, my name is Leah and I’m in my final year of studying Sport and Exercise Psychology at Loughborough University. For many students, choosing what to study and where to study can seem like an impossible decision. There are so many incredible opportunities in the world, and it can be hard to be sure that you are making the right decision. Hopefully, this blog may help you in making the right choice for you!
How do I decide where to study?
There are a lot of factors that come into play when deciding what university is the best fit for you. For me there were four main areas that I had to consider when choosing where I was going to spend the next few years of my education journey, and I’d advise anyone considering going to university to consider the same points.
As a young carer for my Mum, I wanted to ensure that I wasn’t too far from home and make sure that I could get back in case of emergencies. I also didn’t want the journey home at the holidays to take too long. Loughborough is ideally located close to my home, but it also has excellent transport links with the train station close by and an excellent coach and bus service.
Try looking into the local transport links that your institution options offer. It can give you peace of mind knowing that you are able to travel to where you need to and that you are not going to be trapped in one place.
I come from quite a small town and I am not a fan of big cities or crowds, and so I had to consider the size of the campus that I would be attending, and the local area too. Although Loughborough campus can seem daunting upon first glance, it quickly embraces you in a warm hug and makes you feel safe and protected. Everything is still at your fingertips and you can get to the bigger cities if you wish, but it doesn’t have the same “city vibe” that some other campuses have. Loughborough is often nicknamed ‘The Bubble’ and it really does feel like that once you are here.
Consider what would make you feel comfortable when it comes to a campus and the local area. Do you want to live in the city or in a town? Are you looking for a certain size campus? I found that visiting the campuses definitely helps before making your decision as you are able to get a feel for the place and it almost makes the decision for you as you can tell whether you are comfortable or not.
The campus at night
The community surrounding the university was something that I really wanted to consider. I didn’t want to be somewhere where I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the campus and exploring what was around me. I wanted to know that I could treat the place like my home. Loughborough has definitely offered that for me as I have been able to meet different members of the community and fully throw myself into Loughborough life. It’s been really nice to chat to the locals and find out what experiences they have had. I’ve learnt a lot about the history of Loughborough and how the town has developed over the years.
Give yourself some time to explore the community around any institutions that you are considering. Are there places where you can go and explore? Do you see yourself being happy there for a few years? Remember, that this isn’t just going to be a holiday and you have to make a life for yourself where you choose – I promise it sounds scarier than it is!
Although I’m at university to get my degree, it was important for me to be able to branch out and explore different opportunities that were on offer. I’m a very inquisitive person and I knew that I would probably go mad if I just studied without the chance to experience other things. I’ve definitely had the chance to do things I never would have imagined whilst being at Loughborough. I’ve been part of some incredible volunteering opportunities through LSU Action where I’ve helped to improve the local community; I’ve spent days on Rag raids raising money for charity in London; and I’ve attended so many amazing events ran by the Welfare and Diversity section.
Look into what else is on offer for you. I’ve been at Loughborough since 2017 and I still find something new to experience. Make sure that there are other things for you to do alongside your studying. It’s not just about your degree, it’s also important to have fun!
Me and a friendly alpaca
How to I decide what to study?
Choosing what to study can feel impossible. There are so many different courses out there and they all offer equally amazing opportunities. When I was considering what I wanted to study I chose three areas to focus my decision on. I still changed my mind a fair few times, but it helped to narrow down hundreds of courses to ones that I knew I could gain something from.
I made a list of subjects that were of interest to me that I could see myself learning more about. For me, I’d always enjoyed my Sport and Psychology lessons throughout school and Sixth Form. I actually wasn’t aware that Sport Psychology was a course that existed until I did my research and spoke to a member of university staff about what they had on offer. I thought I’d have to choose between my two passions, but through putting in a little extra work I was able to find a course that merged them both together.
Make a list of what subjects you’ve found interesting and research what courses are available. You might find that there are courses out there that combine a few of your interests. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions about the courses that you find. Universities are always happy to answer any questions that you have, and their websites often have lots of helpful resources available for you to do your own investigating.
I wanted to be sure that I would be developing my knowledge further. It was important for me that I would not just be learning the same stuff that I already knew and that I would have the opportunity to be challenged throughout the entirety of my course. Having a basic knowledge of some of the key concepts that I have covered has been helpful, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having my learning pushed to the limits.
Research what your course will entail and see whether you will have the same chances. It’s a great way to know that you will be kept engaged and interested and it keeps you on your toes as you never quite know what to expect.
Me and my friends at the summer ball
Thinking about where I wanted to be in the future was perhaps one of my biggest considerations when it came to choosing what I wanted to study. I’m still not entirely sure on a specific profession, but I know the general field that I want to work in. Taking the extra time to consider this has been really beneficial as I know that my studying is worth it. It has kept me motivated and interested because I know that it’ll help me in the long run.
Consider where you would like to be at the end of your time at university. Do you have a specific profession you could see yourself in, or maybe just a general field that you would like to enter? This can really help narrow down the courses that are on offer and ensure that you make the right decision for you.
Me collecting my LSU Action Award
Still not decided on where to go or what you should do?
This is perhaps one of the biggest decisions you will ever make so don’t be disheartened if you can’t decide straight away. Remember that university isn’t for everyone either and that is perfectly okay.
Check out the UCAS website as they have nearly 50,000 courses for you to explore and be sure to keep in mind the factors that matter to you. Research into all the universities that are of interest to you. It’s important that you will feel happy where you decide. Lots of universities offer open days where you can go and see the facilities on offer and tour the campus as well as being able to ask any questions that you might have. Your happiness is the ultimate priority so don’t rush the decision and don’t be afraid to ask any questions that you might have – no question is too silly.