Aberystwyth: Small, tightly knit. First university in Wales and proud of it. Remote spot, small town surrounded by gorgeous scenery and bags of fresh air. Divine view of Cardigan Bay. Most students from outside Wales. Sport thrives. Aber Rag is one of the world's biggest student charity appeals.
Contact: 01970 623111
Bangor: Part of the University of Wales, which underwent big- time restructuring in the Eighties (philosophy and physics closed). Wonderful position, being sandwiched between Snowdonia National Park and Menai Strait. 17 per cent of students speak Welsh, and there is a Welsh hall of residence. Excels at sport. New popular subjects: environmental science and criminology.
Contact: 01248 351151
Bath: (above) Has risen from nowhere to be one of the most successful universities in the UK. Top-notch for science and technology. Popular degree in sports science. Strong links with industry.
Contact: 01225 826826
Bournemouth: Former poly. Not a traditional university. Specialises in finding gaps in higher education market and filling them with novel courses, eg forensic archaeology and building conservation technology.
Contact: 01202 524111
Bristol: Would probably figure in an Ivy League of British universities. Attracts classy students, many from grammar and independent schools. Most departments have excellent facilities and reputations.
Contact: 0117-928 9000
Cardiff: Largest constituent of the federal university of Wales. Has biggest and best students union in the UK. Good for sport. Good, too, for English: leads way in critical theory. Has most modern engineering complex of British universities.
Contact: 029-2087 4000
Exeter: "Green welly" university, famous for attracting Sloanes. But staff and students claim a healthy mix. Glorious, safe place, mostly redbrick buildings in 245-acre garden estate, a mile from city centre.
Contact: 01392 263263
Glamorgan: Ex-poly on outskirts of Pontypridd, a busy market town between Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff. Main campus is in the village of Treforest - 20 minutes by train from Cardiff. More than 19,000 students. Courses are modular.
Contact: 01443 480480
Lampeter: (above) Part of University of Wales. In little market town deep in south-west Wales, so remote it has no train station. Smallest uni in UK, around 1,600 full-time students, the vast majority from outside Wales. Specialises in arts and humanities.
Contact: 01570 422351
Plymouth: Ex-poly. Four campuses around Devon - in Plymouth (main one), Exeter, Exmouth and Seale-Hayne. Largest uni in South-west. Good for engineering, nursing, sciences and marine studies.
Contact: 01752 600600
Southampton: A large university that's more than doubled in size in the Nineties. From 8,300 students in 1991 it has over 20,000 today. Strong research reputation. Traditionally strong in engineering, but also hired UK's first professor of European film and media studies, Pam Cook.
Contact: 01703 590000
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff: Has nearly 8,000 students, two- thirds Welsh, and offers courses with vocational edge. …