In practice


Case study: Football player

Jane Doe is a 17-year-old British football player who was recently called up to the U18 national team for the first time. She has just started her final year of school but must start thinking about what she wants to do when she finishes, as applications for universities are due soon. Jane’s dream was to go to university in the USA and play in the NCAA, however, she gets extremely homesick and has therefore decided that the best option is to stay close to home and go to a university in her home country. Jane wants to study Chemistry and has narrowed down three universities that have strong reputations in this subject area and provide good support for talented and elite athletes.

Step 1

Jane and her dual career counsellor have decided to use the tool Edu-Check to help her find the most optimal university option for her. The dual career counsellor has provided Jane with the Dual Career Scan (pdf), which is step 1 of the tool. The counsellor tells her to take the tool home and do some research on the three universities by working through the document to discuss the results in the next meeting. To gather the information, Jane used the websites of each university, and personally contacted two players from her club who are currently at two of the universities on her list. Jane added two of her own questions under the “other questions” section that she deemed important. These were: “Is the training on campus or will I need to travel?” and “If the training is not on campus, is there suitable transport?” These questions were deemed to be important because Jane does not have access to a car.

After completing the scan for her three university options, it was clear that one option did not meet her needs at all and was therefore removed from her choices. The university that Jane removed provided no academic flexibility or part-time study options, and the training location was several miles from her accommodation and had poor access via public transport. These were all important elements for Jane. This left her with two university options, one of which provided had a programme of study that she was more interested, and the other provided more support, training, and competition opportunities.

Step 2

Jane discussed these two university opportunities with her dual career counsellor, and it was agreed that the next step would be to undertake step 2 of the tool, the Benefit Analysis (xls), to uncover some objective scores on each option (Jane chose to do this step with 2 instead of 3 universities as one had already been ruled out). With the guidance of the counsellor, Jane identified 6 top factors that she was looking for in her university experience. After she had done this, Jane discussed each factor with her counsellor, and identified a weighting for each between 1-10 (10 being the most important). Following the data gathered in the Dual Career Scan (pdf) phase, Jane then identified a score between 1 to 10 for each factor. The results were then calculated automatically.

Benefit Analysis of Jane

Step 3

From the Benefit Analysis (xls), the results indicated that De Montfort University scored higher (323), and therefore may be the better option for Jane. Jane was surprised by this, as her instinct was telling her that the University of Nottingham would be the better choice for her. As the scores between the two universities were still relatively close and Jane was feeling conflicted, it was decided between her and the counsellor that she would take part in the final step of the tool Edu-Check, the Pro/Con (pdf) list. After printing off the tool, Jane identified the following pros and cons for each option, including allocating a score for each.

The University of Nottingham


  • Other athletes have outlined they have had great experiences – 9
  • There is a short 10-minute bus journey to training from the accommodation – 10
  • There is the possibility of going part-time if required – 8


  • Will not be on the top tier of the sport scholarship programme – 6
  • It is very difficult to get a work placement during the course – 8
  • It is a 2-hour drive away from home – 10

De Montford University


  • It is a 45-minute drive from home – 10
  • Will be on the top tier of the sport scholarship programme – 7
  • There is the option to continue onto a post-graduate course at the same university – 6


  • There are not as many top female football players as there are at the other university – 8
  • There is no access to a financial bursary – 8
  • Options to go part-time if required are limited – 7

After this process, Jane calculates the scores by subtracting the total cons score for each university from the pros score:

  • The University of Nottingham: Pros (27) – Cons (24) = 3
  • De Montfort University: Pros (23) – Cons (23) = 0

The result that the University of Nottingham came out higher was a relief for Jane as this matched her initial instinct to choose this option. The counsellor and Jane discuss this and agree that instinct is a very important factor within the decision. Jane now begins her application to the University of Nottingham as her main choice, with De Montfort University as the reserve option.