Two kinds of athletes take part in athletics at University – those who were athletes before they arrived and those who take the sport up while there. There is something for both groups.
If you already belong to an athletics club, your coach may advise you on where to apply. Coaches who are in the Local or National Coach Development programme may have helpful contacts. England Athletics, the national governing body for athletics in England, has a number of Athletics Networks. These are, in effect, groups of local athletics and running clubs in a particular area and they will usually have a Network Officer. Check the England Athletics website for an Athletic Network in the area in which you hope to be studying and contact the Network Officer who will be only too pleased to advise you.
You should also look at the websites of the universities you are considering and see what they have to offer.
Some universities (Loughborough is the obvious one but there are others) are very strong on athletics. Many others have athletics facilities, athletics teams and coaching. Some maintain links with local clubs. And it has to be accepted that one or two don’t really have anything for the athlete. The lesson: research online before deciding where you want to be.
The British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) is mentioned on another page on this website. If you want to compete while you’re at university, check that the University you are considering takes part in BUCS competitions. There are lots of them and you’re almost certain to find a competition that suits you.
When you go to an Open Day, ask what facilities they have for your sport. Check out The Complete University Guide. The Student Room website will tell you a lot about sports facilities university by university. Is there a Facebook page for a club at the University of your choice?
Do your research before you commit to a Higher Education institution, because afterwards may be too late.