Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Guide to Studying in Scotland

Many school leavers have already chosen where they intend to spend their next three or more years of studies, while for others the decision still lies ahead. Studying in Scotland has many perks. For starters, Scottish and European Union nationals do not have to cover the costs of their higher education, while for English, Welsh and Northern Irish students the fees are lower than at universities back home.

What's more, students at Scottish universities get to spend four years learning and developing their skill set in comparison to three elsewhere in the UK.

Whether you're hoping to study in a big city, small town or even rural setting, Scotland offers it all. Study programmes are diverse, and cover everything from classics to engineering to sports.

Rural Higher Education Institutions in Scotland

If you study best in a peaceful setting with ample amounts of fresh air and outdoor scenery, the University of the Highlands and Islands could be for you. As the name itself gives away, the campuses are scattered throughout Scotland's northernmost areas such as Shetland, Orkney and Moray.

Modern facilities are housed in purpose-built academic buildings, many of which boast sprawling views across the local hills and valleys.

Each campus has its own atmosphere and community feel thanks to the small number studying at each location. This is one of the best features of the uni, and will make everyone feel welcome.
Up North you could be studying Tourism, Science, Gaelic (which is rare in the UK!), and more.

Small Town Scottish Universities

Not a fan of big cities, the prices, congestion and other factors that come with them? Fortunately, Scotland is home to various universities set in smaller towns, one of the best known of which is the University of St Andrews, famous not only for its high academic standards, but also for being the alma mater of Prince William.

The town is perched on the East Coast and is easily accessible by car or coach, but not by train. Prices in the area are steep with rents considerably higher than the Scottish average. St Andrews has a firm focus on academics, and so the town isn't the most buzzing of places to spend your student life, but this, of course, suits many individuals. The town does boast excellent restaurants and shops, including designer outlets. You can also find true pearls at the many charity shops.

Here you can read classic subjects such as Art History, Divinity, and Mathematics as well as others.

Stirling University is a medium-sized institution set on one of Britain's most striking campuses with its very own loch, and trails leading up into the nearby mountains. Founded in the 1960s, the uni prides itself on offering an array of modern courses such as Film and Media, Sports Studies, and Marketing.

The town is Scotland's historic capital and so features stunning attractions like Stirling Castle, the Old Bridge, and the Wallace Monument. Its centre is compact with one major shopping centre, a few independent shops, and a generous offering of pubs and restaurants. Life here is quite a lot cheaper than in Scotland's bigger cities.

Other options to consider are the University of the West of Scotland, and individual campuses such as the University of Glasgow's Dumfries branch, and Heriot-Watt University's Galashiels campus.

Big City Universities in Scotland

Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen are all home to more than one university. Therefore there is a certain degree of rivalry between students who place a big emphasis on university rankings.

Glasgow is arguably Scotland's most student-friendly city in terms of prices and entertainment opportunities. Much of its student population resides in the city's West End, the hippest part of town. Many are involved in one or more of the city's many political movements.

Edinburgh is quite a bit more expensive, but boasts a rich, historical heritage and academic atmosphere. With four universities to choose from, you could be studying anything from the classics to computing.

The best way to choose a Scottish university is to spend time in each location, soaking up on the local atmosphere. Spend a couple of days in a city hotel in Glasgow, then move on to Edinburgh or wherever else you've decided to check out.

Harvey McEwan writes to offer information and advice on a variety of areas, from what city hotel in Glasgow to stay in to festival fashion tips. View Harvey's other articles to find out more.

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