So, you’ve achieved the grades that you wanted and can now apply to some of the best universities in the world! I bet you’re really excited to pursue a course that will put your life on the fast track and enable you to realize your dreams. But hold on, you still have an important decision to make, the one that will determine your future.
I’m referring to choosing a university that’s right for you. Sure, there are several well-renowned universities all over the world, but is one as good as the other? All universities are different and have their own strong and weak points. Some offer a great campus experience, others a good faculty, while some are famous for their excellent curriculum. Some are just closer to home. So how do you zero in on a university that matches your criteria?
There are several factors that you need to consider while picking a university. Presented here are some of the most important ones that will help you figure out the best university for you.
Referring to university rankings on reliable websites can prove to be very helpful if you only want to study at one of the best institutes in the world. If you’re absolutely sure about the course you want to take up, you’ll probably be able to pick a university more easily. You can scout for university rankings by subjects that interest you.
Be sure to figure out the criteria taken into account and methodology used in the assessment of universities; it is usually mentioned on the website. These are reasons why one institute is ranked higher than the other. Do keep in mind, however, that your own parameters may not match those used in the ranking of these universities.
Apart from rankings, you can also consider university ratings. There are specialized websites for this too, typically, administered by current and ex-university students and academicians enlisting their experiences at and opinions about various institutes.
Institutes are assessed the way hotels are on review websites – along set criteria. They are rated based on parameters like quality of education, faculty, infrastructure, performance over the last few years, and so on. This information can be used for comparisons between institutes on specific factors that might for you hold precedence over others.
Students don’t always have a clear idea about what they want to study when it’s the time to join a university. Even those who are seemingly sure about what they want often end up changing their majors soon after they join.
If you aren’t very sure of which course you want to pursue, you need to make sure that your university offers a wide range of courses and majors so that you can try your hand at a few before arriving at a final decision.
But if you’ve made up your mind to go for a particular course, you need to make sure that different options within that field are made available to you. This way you can specialize in your area of interest and increase your chances of landing a great job in that field.
Do consider the size of the university as that can determine the quality of the time you spend there. Large universities have bigger campuses and classrooms and can, therefore, accommodate a higher number of students. This results in a higher student-to-teacher ratio, wherein teaching becomes quite impersonal and takes place through classroom sessions and personal research. Students are largely responsible for their own academic performance.
Larger universities also tend to have amenities for sports enthusiasts. If you’re looking to make a career in the field of sports and fitness, you need to ensure that you choose a university with an infrastructure that will support your requirements.
Huge universities also offer a lively social scene, which opens up avenues for students to do a lot of fun things. It is important, however, to not get swayed by distractions and focus on your studies.
When deciding which university to attend, you must factor in the importance of being close to home, the employment opportunities in the city the university is based in, and even the weather. This is important as many students are quite dependent on the climate for their mental and physical well-being.
All study and no play will make Jack a dull boy! If you’re certain that you do not want to spend all of your time inside the four walls of your classroom, check out the extra-curricular activities offered by the universities of your interest. Indulging in dramatics or playing indoor and outdoor sports is as important as academics for the all-round development of a student’s personality.
Expenses, Scholarships & Grants
Cost of education is going to be one of the biggest factors affecting your choice of university. If your finances aren’t in good shape, you might want to consider attending a university that offers financial aid in the form of merit-based scholarships, grants, work and study options, or student loans to help you fund your education.
Make time to interact with the current crop of students of the universities you’re interested in and inquire about their experiences there. This is a great way to get first-hand information about a university, which no website will make available to you. It will also put things in perspective for you before you commit to a particular institute.
Your university is going to be your home away from home for at least 3 – 4 years, so it is crucial that you choose an institute that looks after all your needs and empowers you to achieve your career-related goals. Take sufficient time to arrive at an informed decision.