Choosing the right university and course is an important decision and you’ll have lots of questions about which choice is right for you. To help in this process, we recommend you identify and rank your priorities, which could include:
- Studying something you love; a course where you can select modules which align with your interests
- Finding a course which closely matches your career aspirations
- Selecting a course which you think will make you most employable
- Choosing a course well known and respected by employers with graduate destinations that interest you
- Attending a course which has few/many contact hours or many/few self-study hours, which ever style suits you the most
- A course which ranks highly in league tables
- A course that has high entry requirements
- Picking a course which matches your preferred learning style either through lectures, seminars or workshops
- Similarly, find a course which matches to your preferred assessment methods, through either coursework, exams, presentations or group work
- Applying to a course that gives you credits towards professional qualifications (where applicable)
- Attending a prestigious university, or one which fulfils your other priorities
- Selecting a campus based or city based university
- Choosing a university which has an active sports and society offering
- Finding an institution that has an environment you will feel comfortable in
- Choosing a university with an international mix of students
- One that offers scholarships and/or bursaries
- A university with high profile alumni
- Going to an institution which has a variety of employers on campus keen to meet and employ the students
- Attending a university with a high employment rate, with top employers
- Living in a large or small city or on campus
- Moving away from home or staying at home
- Are there opportunities for part time work or gaining work experience?
- Housing options and associated costs
- How you will fund your studies
- The local amenities, including public transport for moving around the local area and when going home
There are some practical things you can do to help you make an informed choice:
- Visit the institutions you are considering
- Speak to the lecturers and academic administrators
- Be clear about the course content and teaching methods
- Find out what the module choices are and if these are in line with your interests
- Discuss the course and university life with current students
- Review the graduate destination outcomes to see which jobs and employers students from the courses you are considering went onto post-graduation
- Look around the institution and find out about life as a student there and the available services and facilities
- Feel satisfied with the local area and safety of the town/city you’ll be based in
- Research your housing options, and have a look round them
- Work out the finances involved and how you will fund your studies
- Speak to your friends, family, school/college or current employer to help firm up your decision and talk through any concerns you have
What to look for from a good careers service
A good university careers service will give you professional careers support and access to employers to help improve your skills and increase your employability, to help you to fulfil your aspirations. At LSE Careers we offer:
Our employer engagement includes:
- Skills seminars where employers teach skills essential for the recruitment process and the world of work and give insights about a particular industry
- Careers fairs, both in the UK and internationally, to discover more about employer internship and graduate opportunities
- Coffee mornings and careers cafes allowing for an intimate, informal connection with employers from specific sectors
- Employer presentations to gather detailed information about a specific employer’s opportunities and to meet their representatives
- Networking events to discuss more details about employer opportunities, their sector and the specifics of day to day job responsibilities
- Meet an alum, which is in small groups of your peers to find out more about the alumni’s job role and employer and routes into their sector
- Job advertisements on our online vacancy board, which contains part time, full time, internship and voluntary positions
We also hold other key events which include, but are not limited to, International Organisations Day, Public Sector and Policy events programme, Creative Industries Week, and Conflict, Risk and Securities Week.
We do this through:
- Individual careers discussions (including specialist appointments for students with disabilities and those studying for a PhD)
- Individual CV, cover letter, application form and personal statement advice
- Practice interviews to receive useful advice to improve your interview performance for an upcoming competency, strengths based or case interview
- Careers seminars and workshops teaching you the skills to thrive in the recruitment process, including writing CV and cover letters, application forms, succeeding at interviews, assessment centres and case studies, networking practice and information on applying for further study
We also run programmes for experienced hires, those who are unsure of what they want to do and career changers.
Designed by a dedicated careers consultant, your departmental careers programme will include a series of events tailored to the needs of the students within your department. The programme will vary from department to department but can include workshops on various aspects of the recruitment process, networking opportunities with alumni from your department, sector specific seminars and the chance to meet your consultant on a one to one basis.
The LSE Volunteer Centre is here to inspire and empower the LSE community to volunteer for causes they are passionate about. Volunteering gives you a chance to have an impact on society whilst developing new skills and meeting new people. Moreover, volunteering has the power to transform your university experience: 70% of students who volunteer say it improved their time at university.
We work with over 400 charities and NGOs each year, promoting more than 1,000 opportunities for students to get involved. These range from advocating for refugees to mentoring local school children to helping a fellow student settle in to London and LSE, so there is an opportunity for everyone to get involved. The LSE Volunteer Centre also offers one-to-one advice sessions and organises events such as volunteering fairs, seminars, on campus promotions, and an extensive one-off volunteering programme.
It is now very common for students to think about starting an entrepreneurial project whilst at university. To support anyone embarking on this journey we have an entrepreneurial department, Generate, who put together an exciting all-year round events programme open to all students. Activity highlights include:
- Weekly masterclasses with industry specialists who run through the nuts and bolts of starting up your own enterprise
- Mentoring and weekly clinics with start-up experts and our entrepreneurs in residence
- Panels and Roundtables on current themes e.g. The ethics of AI, the impact of Brexit on the start-up world
- Termly funding competitions and our flagship LSE Entrepreneur of the Year competition
- National and International treks to emerging and mature start-up hubs. Previous treks have included trips to China, Silicon Valley and Berlin
- Co-working space at LSE and in Shoreditch and a brand new accelerator project beginning in summer 2019
Generate has a very active social media presence on Twitter and would be very happy to answer any related questions you have.
When choosing between two courses, how do I know which course will make me most employable?
If the courses you are choosing between are similar in subject knowledge then it is likely that the nuances between them will be so small that an employer would be unlikely to have a preference. If the courses you are deciding between are very different then you might want to consider why this is, return to your priorities list and use this to help you make a more informed course choice. In the case of a master’s candidate, you would be wise to carefully consider the modules on offer and if these give you the specialist knowledge you want.
In essence, most recruiters seek candidates who achieve a good degree classification (a 2:1 or above). With this in mind, we suggest choosing a course you will enjoy, that interests you, in order to increase your motivation for your studies, and which will often lead to stronger attainment levels. Alongside your good grades, employers want you to possess transferable skills, obtained through work experience, internships, work shadowing, volunteering, part time work or extra-curricular responsibilities.
Finally, you can also compare the destination of students from the courses you are considering by reviewing the results of the graduate destinations survey. Results for LSE are available on our graduate destinations web pages, and the other institutions you are considering should offer the same data.
You can find out more about the services at LSE Careers, LSE Volunteer Centre and LSE Generate, via these relevant links.