Four questions to consider when choosing a university
Choosing a university is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make – so it’s important to make the right decision for your future.
Studying abroad is a life-changing experience. On top of your studies at uni, you’ll be meeting new friends, immersing in the culture and lifestyle of a different country, building professional networks and experience, and living away from home for a substantial amount of time.
When considering choosing the right university for you, it’s vital to keep your needs at the forefront to ensure you find the best fit for your academically and personally, because there’s going to be so much more to your university experience than textbooks and tutorials.
- What do you hope to gain from your university experience?
When choosing a university, it’s important to look at more than just rankings. The first thing to think about is what you hope to gain from your university – this should be the core driver when shortlisting your options.
For example, if you currently live in a metropolitan city then you might want to escape and look for a campus that is located outside of the city that’s surrounded by nature, and offers a lot of outdoor lifestyle and social programs.
You might also consider doing research online to see what people are saying about their study experience, and see if it matches what you are most looking for in you university experience.
Make sure you understand enough about your needs and wants, and be clear to yourself about what you will compromise on and what you can’t. It might help to write it down so you can remind yourself when you’re making any final decisions.
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- Does the university align to your career ambitions?
Industry and work experience is a vital part of growing into your career and discovering the career paths you want in your future – after all, the purpose of an education is to prepare you for a rewarding career.
Ensuring the university is a great fit for your career is ensuring the university offers the curriculum that matches your areas of interest, the facilities to practice what you learn, and provides the industry opportunities for you to get hands-on skills and experience to prepare you for the world of work.
Before making any final decisions, make sure you do a little research on the employment experiences, facilities and employment outcome statistics to help you make a decision that’s right for you.
- Does the university offer the course options you want?
Sometimes it might be tempting to choose a university because they offer prestige or because you’ve been told by friends or family that it’s the university you should attend.
While prestige and personal recommendations are valid reasons, you should also make sure the university offers the course you want to pursue as your career, and the course options and curriculum match what you want to get out of your course – otherwise this could be a deal breaker for you.
For example, no university will offer the exact same curriculum, electives, majors or specialisations, and core subjects. If you have a specific specialisation or topics of interest within a study area you want to pursue, then ensuring the university offers this should be an important factor in your decision.
Make sure to take time to read through the curriculum, course descriptions and electives or specialisations. After all, you will be spending at least 3 years studying so it’s vital to be aligned with the interests you would like to pursue into your career after you graduate.
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- Does the cost of education match your budget?
Money is never an easy topic to talk about, but one of the most important factors when making your decision to study abroad. When considering your budget, it’s important to first consider whether the course fees will fit into your budget – especially if you aren’t relying on a scholarship to fund some of the costs.
The second factor is the cost of living. Each country and city will have different costs of living for accommodation, transport, food and general lifestyle expenses – and this needs to be considered as you make a shortlist of universities to attend.
If costs are an issue, then you might consider attending a university that isn’t located within major metropolitan cities such as London, New York and Sydney, and you can consider campuses located outside of the city centre, or consider regional campuses in smaller cities.
Studying abroad is a life-changing experience, and it’s important to ensure you are confident in your choice of university. Remember, everyone’s expectations and needs are different, so as long as you understand what you value and expect in a university experience – this will go a long way to make sure you’re making the right decision for yourself.
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