How I chose my university options for UCAS, as a wheelchair user — Scope | Disability forum

How I chose my university options for UCAS, as a wheelchair user

Poppy_ Community Volunteer Host Posts: 94 Courageous

Thank you to Poppy for writing this guest blog about how she chose the best university for her needs :) 

How I chose my university options for UCAS, as a wheelchair user

I turned 18 this year and I am leaving standard education, and like most young people who are finishing their A levels or other qualifications, I have applied for university, specifically to study BSc (Hons)Occupational Therapy. I have chosen different universities, based on a few different factors.


Firstly, I looked at what the universities could offer to accommodate me and my disability, which is Cerebral Palsy. The accommodations would include the housing accommodation and within the university course, such as accommodations to complete placement, which is apart of my degree.

I then looked at where they were geographically, which for me meant how far they are from home, as I wanted independence, away from the family home, but close enough to come home regularly.

I also looked at how accessible the area around the university was, in terms of where I could go shopping, meet socially and get around the area for everyday life.

For me, this meant:

  • A reasonably flat surface, I.e no dangerous slopes or big up hill climbs,
  • Few stairs, or ramps available at shops and other buildings, such as bars and restaurants
  • Multiple disabled toilets and easy access to the local centre for shops and social places

I found that this meant visiting the area on separate occasions, as online the different places may say they are accessible, when in reality, they are not.  This helped me create a final five list, which I needed for UCAS as they have a maximum of five choices. I chose:

  • Northumbria University
  • University of Sunderland
  • Teesside University
  • York St John University
  • Leeds Beckett University

My top 3 were Teesside university, Northumbria university and University of Sunderland, as these universities and the surrounding areas were the most accommodating and accessible, for me, as a wheelchair user.

Leeds Beckett university has a great Occupational Therapy course and housing accommodation but I found it difficult to move around the area independently, which would hinder my everyday life.

York St John had similar issues, however, York St John also had the opportunity to go to other countries for placement, which I found unusual but valuable for my education.

Teesside university was one of my top options, as it ticked all of the boxes I required to make the most out of my years at university. Northumbria was a close second, as it is at the limit I am willing to be away from home, geographically.

University of Sunderland also tied in second place, as it was similar to Northumbria geographically and in terms of accessibility, however I felt like I wouldn’t get as much experience out of my placement as I would at Teesside University. 

This is how I chose between the different university options and I hope this helps others choose the right university/universities for them.

Community Volunteer Host with a passion for reading.


  • L_Volunteer
    L_Volunteer Community Volunteer Adviser Posts: 2,346 Pioneering
    Thanks @Poppy_ for sharing this link with us! I think you will be surprised by just how many people you will help with this article. I hope it reaches everyone who needs it. Please remember we are always here for everyone if anyone has any questions about this article or how it may apply to their own situation!  :)
    Community Volunteer Adviser with professional knowledge of education, special educational needs and disabilities and EHCP's. Pronouns: She/her.
  • Libby_Alumni
    Libby_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 1,254 Pioneering
    Thanks @Poppy_ for all your hard work in putting this post together. I'm sure some of our members will find this very helpful and we wish you the best of luck in the university application process. Please keep us updated on how things go :)
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