With information and advice flying at you from all sides, choosing a university can be overwhelming. On top of that, the prospect of making the wrong decision can seem downright catastrophic.
But here’s the good news – you’re going to be fine. What’s important is you don’t get weighed down by the pressure and stress.
We spoke to five current students about their tips for choosing the right university.
Put your career first
You might be tempted to pick the same university as your friends. But, they’re going to have different career needs to yours. It’s best to choose the university that’s the right fit for you.
I would say don’t get too caught up in where your friends are going. You make friends at university generally pretty quickly. Especially in Orientation Week. Focus on choosing the course and university you think you’ll get the most out of. That’s what matters most in the long run.
Research the course and discipline
A university may have an excellent overall reputation but how do they fare in your area of interest? What units and electives are available? What career or industry opportunities do they offer you?
Make sure you really understand the courses that you’re considering. Don’t just look at the one-page website description. Browse the handbook for the course. Read the unit descriptions. Chat to the uni’s support services if you need. If you’re starting to get excited about what you’re seeing or hearing, then that’s a great sign.
Talk to a current student
There’s no one better to talk to about a university than someone who goes there. Ask them questions about their experiences. What do they enjoy about the university? What do they think could be improved?
Talking to current students is a really great way to understand what the culture is like at the university. You can learn a lot that you wouldn’t necessarily get just reading a brochure. Find out what the lecturers or facilities are like. It might even be advice as to where to buy good coffee.
Check out the activities and services
You might have found your dream course but you should also look for opportunities the university provides outside of the classroom. It’s important you have the chance to connect with other students to develop your leadership and communication skills. Find out what social, sporting and recreational services are available to you.
Definitely look at what the universities offer above and beyond your course. So what kind of support do they have for students? What kind of events? What student union-run clubs or societies do they have? Those additional things can make all the difference to your experience.
Visit the university
You may hear wonderful things about a university, but it’s your experience that counts. See the campus firsthand and visit it multiple times if you can. Soak in the atmosphere and get a sense of what life on campus is like. Ask yourself: can I picture myself here?
Seeing the campus really cemented my decision to study there because I could imagine myself studying on the lawn with other students. I think seeing the teaching and learning spaces is important as well. It gives you reassurance that you’re choosing a university that’s investing in itself and you’re making a good investment by going there.