Six Critical Factors when Choosing a University

(originally published on EasyUni.com)

Choosing the perfect university can be tough and requires a lot of careful planning. We list down the top six things to look out for when choosing your school.

One of the major decisions you have to do in life is deciding where you want to go for university. Not only will you be attached to it for at least three years, but it could also change your life altogether. While there are instances when you will need to transfer, it would be very costly to change universities, not to mention the tedious procedure that you will have to go through.

Before choosing, do your research and be fully equipped with the knowledge of your chosen course and of course, your school. Here are the six factors to look at before deciding on your future alma mater.

Course and the University

The course that you choose will play an important role in your choice of university in the future as most institutes now have specialised courses in certain fields. There are renowned institutes that students go to for medical courses. There are famous universities that students go for business courses and people know which college offers the best accounting course.

It is important to know what you want to study. Do a thorough research on it and ask yourself if the course is really what you want. You can also look into your interests and personality to see which course should you take.

Choosing the right course is crucial in determining a student’s performance as students usually leave universities early in the course due to choosing the wrong course.

Location

Another aspect to choosing your university is the location. It is easier to choose your university if you want to live at home. However, if you want to live away, the distance or travel time is something that you should look into, be it locally or abroad.

While moving out of home has its perks, such as getting away from your parents’ restrictions and socialising without worrying about curfews, it will definitely be much more expensive. You will also be living far away from your home’s emotional security and comfort, forcing yourself to be self-reliant.

To experience the best of both worlds, students opt to go for the 3+1 or 2+2 course where they will be studying locally for the first two or three years and enjoy the other one or two years abroad.

Further, while the city centre has more entertainment and excitement, it is considerably busier, noisier and not as picturesque. But then again, living off-campus incurs higher travel costs and more restricted access.

Costs

With anything, there is a cost that you need to consider. Living in some areas might be more expensive compared to others.

Besides food, accommodation and traveling expenses, teenagers also spend quite a bit on entertainment. Thus, you can always do your research and check if the university offers student accommodation. There is also financial support available for students that you can make full use of.

The tuition fee has also always been a factor that influences the decision of students. Public universities generally offer a much lower tuition fee compared to private ones. So, sort out your budget and how much you are able to spend on your studies. You should also find out the other range of costs, such as the sports center, library photocopier and even your graduation ceremony. However, students now worry less as there are loans that they can apply for.

Type and Size of University

Every university offers different student experiences and it all depends on your preference. Older universities generally do more research and recruit a higher proportion of school-leavers and offer more traditional academic courses. On the other hand, newer universities are more locally and vocationally oriented and recruit more mature and part-time students.

Universities also vary in size. A smaller university gives a more personal and cozy feel but with fewer facilities and non-academic activities, while bigger universities offer more activities at the expense of more impersonal teachings as lectures can be delivered to hundreds of students at a time.

Quality and Reputation

Every university has their own reputation and their quality varies from one university to another. Therefore, do your research and check reviews to see if that particular university you are interested in has a good reputation and quality. But keep in mind that higher quality and reputation will cost you more.

You should also view your own results as universities with higher reputations are more selective and demanding in admitting students. They might require you to score a near-perfect pointer.

Facilities

Facilities in each university are fairly the same, with a library, sports center, health service, career service and others. If there are specific facilities that you are looking for, it is always worth it to check the university out.

Another factor to consider is the accommodation if you are staying away from home. Is there accommodation for the students? If so, where is it located? If no, are there any private accommodations nearby that you can live in? Is it in a good location a few minutes walk away? A positive answer for all these will put your parents and you at ease.

To Sum it Up

In short, compile a short list of possible universities that are appealing to you, because they have better facilities, their good reputation, the course offered appeals to you, or a combination of all the mentioned factors.

You can also get their undergraduate prospectus. The prospectus supplies most of what you need to know such as course details, facilities, and entry requirements. However, university prospectus always portrays the university on the bright and sunny side.

Although they are rarely factually incorrect, there are students who claim disappointment over the experience. You can either go to the university personally or attend a higher education fair where you can gather information more efficiently. However, going to the university personally could be helpful as you can experience the atmosphere of the university yourself. It might also help to talk to the teachers or those who have studied there previously, though you should always be critical of what you hear as some might be talking about how it was ages ago and universities have changed a lot since then.

We hope this list will help you choose the right institution and good luck!

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