Why choosing the right university is important

Student life offers enormous opportunities and, while some of these may be linked to the location or community that you are living in, most are linked to the university itself. Your university is not only your place of study, but it is also likely to be where you live, make friends and socialise.

Each university has a unique character and offers its own blend of academic, cultural and social opportunities. For example, this might include: a great reputation for particular subjects, specific academic facilities; a distinct campus culture; a tradition in the arts; a strength in certain sports; or a track record in graduate employment.

To help you consider your options, here we are profiling two counties in the North West of England, Cumbria and Lancashire. These two counties are home to three universities:

  • University of Cumbria, based in Carlisle
  • University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), based in Preston
  • Lancaster University, based in Lancaster

Student population

The student population at the University of Cumbria includes…

  • A new undergraduate intake of 485 students (2018)
  • 9% of students from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds (2018)
  • A ratio of 1 male to every 3.2 females (2018)
  • The 9th highest proportion of students from low-income backgrounds (out of 168 unis, 2017)
  • The 16th most mixed student population across all backgrounds (out of 133 unis, 2016)

The student population at the University of Central Lancashire includes…

  • A new undergraduate intake of 1,790 students (2018)
  • 29% of students from BAME backgrounds (2018)
  • A ratio of 1 male to every 1.5 females (2018)
  • The 19th highest proportion of students from low-income backgrounds (out of 168 unis, 2017)
  • The 18th most mixed student population across all income backgrounds (out of 133 unis, 2016)

The student population at Lancaster University includes…

  • A new undergraduate intake of 2,040 students (2018)
  • 15% of students from BAME backgrounds (2018)
  • A ratio of 1.09 males to every 1 female (2018)
  • The 66th highest proportion of students from low-income backgrounds (out of 168 unis, 2017)
  • The 76th most mixed student population across all backgrounds (out of 133 unis, 2016)

University rankings

University of Cumbria is ranked…

  • 118 out of 121 universities overall in the Guardian University Guide (2019)
  • 120 out of 131 universities in the Complete University Guide (2019)
  • 88 out of 154 universities for sustainability by People and Planet (2018)

The University of Central Lancashire is ranked…

  • 76 out of 121 universities overall in the Guardian University Guide (2019)
  • 75 out of 131 universities in the Complete University Guide (2019)
  • In the top 1,000 universities globally by the THES
  • 1 subject in the top 10 nationally (Forensic Science)
  • 9 out of 154 universities for sustainability by People and Planet (2013)

Lancaster University is ranked…

  • 9 out of 121 universities overall in the Guardian University Guide (2019)
  • 7 out of 131 universities in the Complete University Guide (2019)
  • In the top 150 universities globally by the THES
  • 19 subjects in the top 10 nationally
  • 110 out of 154 universities for sustainability by People and Planet (2018)

Open days and taster courses

You can learn a lot from university data, including the Think Uni app and others. Once you have shortlisted some universities that you are interested in, open days and taster courses can be a great next step to gain further experience of life at a university before you apply.

Open days give you the opportunity to visit a university and to consider whether it might be the right place for you. You will typically meet with staff and students, and be given the opportunity to ask questions about student life, including: courses, accommodation, student facilities, and finances. While these days are aimed at prospective students, parents, carers and guardians are usually very welcome to join.

Taster courses are offered by many institutions to enable you to get a feel for what it would be like to study your subject there. You will typically experience some of the different teaching methods and gain insight into the facilities available.

Below are links to open days and taster courses available at your local universities:

Open days at the University of Cumbria

Masterclasses at the University of Cumbria

Open days at Lancaster University

Open days at UCLAN

UCLAN Virtual Tour

Events at UCLAN

 

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