Choosing from hundreds of courses at loads of universities to try and figure out which ones you’d like to apply for can be incredibly tricky – but once you’ve received your offers, how do you know which uni is actually right for you?

We appreciate a lot of things are going to work differently this year. There’s been a lot of disruption going on because of COVID-19, and it’s affected exam results, finances, personal situations and more. That’s why you should think extra carefully this year about where you’d like to end up studying.

If you’re lucky enough to receive more than one offer from different universities or for multiple courses, congratulations are in order! You must be one smart cookie, and any uni would be lucky to have you. But you’ve got to decide what to do with your offers based on what’s right for you.

Here at Stirling, we know that no two students are alike – and what’s important to you might be different from what others are looking for in a uni. But no matter what you’re into or what type of university you’re hunting for, there are five universal pieces of advice we think you should consider when choosing from your university offers.

1. The academic conditions of the offer

Before you commit yourself to any of your offers, you’ve got to fully understand the conditions of those offers. If you’ve secured an unconditional offer, that means you’ve already satisfied the entry requirements for your course and you’re ready to go.

But most students tend to receive a conditional offer. This is totally fine, and it’s normally tied to your academic results or other non-academic qualifications. You don’t want to stretch yourself or place too many eggs in one basket, and so you should think very hard before accepting an offer with conditions that you’re not confident you can actually achieve.

But that doesn’t mean you should sell yourself short, either! When in doubt, get in touch with somebody from the relevant Admissions Team so they can talk you through the conditions of your offer and explain your options.

2. Take a virtual tour of campus

Have you got offers from universities you’ve never even visited? It normally helps you figure out which uni is right for you by exploring the campus first-hand. But with the UK in the middle of a lockdown, you might not get an opportunity to visit campus before you hit your decision deadline.

Fortunately, you can explore the University of Stirling without even getting out of your bed. Take a virtual tour of our beautiful campus to check out our amazing facilities, accommodation, the city of Stirling and more.

If you’re stuck between offers for two very different (or very similar) courses, chatting with current students or university staff in person might be able to help you figure out which course is right for you. We’ve got a team of current students who are always available to chat if you’ve got questions about what it’s like to live and study at Stirling. Start chatting now.

3. Talk to each uni about your individual needs

Everybody at uni has different experiences, backgrounds and needs that have got to be catered for. If you need additional student support services, access to certain facilities or know for a fact that you thrive or struggle in particular environments or setting, talk this over with each university before responding to your offers.

Do not settle or go without. If you have important needs, you should only accept an offer from the uni that’s able to meet those needs.

Check out the Student Support Services on offer here at Stirling, or feel free to get in touch with any questions. Our team are dedicated to making sure our inclusive environment works for all students – regardless of your individual needs.

4. Take a close look at fees and funding

Tuition fees sometimes vary by course, institution or country, and so you should make sure you know exactly how much your tuition fees are going to cost before accepting your offer.

Whatever you do, don’t sit around stressing over money. We know your financial situation might look a bit different this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But if you’re concerned about funding or are looking for scholarship opportunities, it’s worth contacting the university in question. At Stirling, we have a range of scholarships and bursaries that can help support you in your studies.

5. Take your time (but don’t take too long)

At the end of the day, choosing the offer that’s right for you is a big decision. It’s not one you should make lightly, and so it’s worth taking your time to consider every single option. Weigh your offers carefully, talk to friends or family and think long and hard about where you see yourself studying.

That being said, you can’t take forever to decide, either. When you’re given all your offers on UCAS, you’ll also be allocated decision deadlines by which time you absolutely must respond to your offers in Track. These deadlines will vary depending on when you’ve received all of your offers – but if you don’t reply to your offers by the deadline given, those offers will be automatically declined.

Translation: twiddle your thumbs too long, and all those amazing offers you’re sitting on will disappear in a cloud of smoke.

Check out the UCAS website for this year’s decision deadlines, and be sure to log into UCAS Track so that you can monitor your offers and respond in time.

PS. Want to change your mind?

We all make mistakes, and it’s not a crime to have a change of heart. After responding to all your offers on UCAS Track, you’ve got 14 days to log in and change your replies.

Remember: you’re only allowed to change your decision once – so make sure you’re absolutely certain before doing this!

If it’s been longer than two weeks, you might still be able to change your mind, but the process is a little bit different and UCAS can’t make any guarantees you can change your replies. Check out the UCAS website for more guidance on changing your mind.