There are around 150 universities and colleges offering university level courses so if your son or daughter has an idea about the course they want to study it will instantly help to narrow their search and make the choice a bit easier. Once they have done that there are a number of other things to think about:
Live at home or move away
For many, this will be their biggest decision. Is it more important for them to live independently in a new place or stay near family and friends where you know their way around? In most circumstances it will also be considerably less expensive to stay at home.
Do they want to be based in a city, close to good transport links and resources like libraries or would they prefer to be in a rural location where they can pursue outdoor activities?
Cost of living
This is something which can be easily overlooked when thinking about where they want to go. It's worth knowing about the varying costs of accommodation, food and social activities in different areas of the country. For example, it is significantly more expensive to live somewhere like London than Liverpool.
Since fees were introduced they might need to think about how much they will be paying as some universities are more expensive than others. Some may offer financial support such as a scholarships or bursaries or grants.
Distance from home
This is probably a journey they'll be making quite often. Again, this could add up to quite a significant amount of money over a few years.
The complete university guide has a list of how different universities and colleges compare on everything from entry requirements to student satisfaction.
Think about things they might want or need such as IT equipment, libraries, sports facilities, student bars and so on. These things can have a real impact on their experience and it's a good idea to check them out before applying.