Navigating the transition from high school to higher education can be overwhelming. As a child, growing up seems to promise simplicity, but the reality is different. Choosing the right university adds another layer of complexity. With tons of options for every course, the process can be exhausting. From morning campus tours to reading several brochures, selecting the right university can be a task. Hence, at Connector, we've compiled a list of the top 10 things that you must keep in mind while choosing your university.
Enquire About Academic Majors
When choosing a university, enquire about the majors they offer. If you already know your field of study, ensure the universities on your list provide that specific major. If you're undecided, opt for universities with a wide range of majors; this allows you to explore various options and change your major without the need to transfer. Keep in mind that students often change majors, so having diverse programs at one university is beneficial.
When exploring universities, enquiring about academics, attendance, tuition, and more is crucial. However, don't forget to ask about student accommodation, a vital aspect. Living on campus provides flexibility for university activities, and socialising, and saves both time and money. It offers a safe, affordable option, making the transition from high school to university smoother, and ensuring an easy and enriched university experience.
Giving a brief insight into this, John Bell, Principal of Bloom World Academy, said, "Going to university/higher education is not all about the academics. Look carefully at the student accommodation not just for year one but for the duration of the course. My recommendation is a campus university where you can live and socialise without worry. Living in a city and renting away from the university facilities, while it appears ‘grown-up’ can be very expensive and isolating. Be prepared to meet others who are as bright or brighter than you. Just be ready to meet stiff competition - my advice is don’t compete only against yourself - work hard and enjoy yourself.”
After university, your goal is to land a job with your dream organisation, secure a well-paying position, and lead an independent life. Building the foundation for this dream starts with internships. Hence, it's important to find out where previous students of the university have interned, as this reflects the overall quality of graduates. Examining the companies that recruit from the university provides insight into the institution's reputation.
Amenities It Has To Offer
During your higher education years, where you'll spend significant years of your life, it's vital to explore the amenities the university provides. Explore the presence of sports clubs, recreational facilities, and the quality of the library. Consider the food options available and understand how you can engage in various extracurricular opportunities. Answers to these questions are vital in ensuring a well-rounded and enriching university experience.
Location Of The University
Although it may seem basic, it's essential to prioritise your peace of mind by ensuring your university is in a safe location. Consider whether it's situated in a town or a major city. Consider its proximity to essential facilities like hospitals and pharmacies. Additionally, the availability of cafes and hangout spots matters. Your surroundings play a significant role since, outside of class, you'll be spending a considerable amount of time in the surrounding city. So, it's better to opt for a university with a location that aligns with your safety and lifestyle preferences.
Practical Exposure Is Important
While all universities provide theoretical knowledge, the best ones go beyond by incorporating practical sessions. Practical teaching adds real-world value, helping you understand the purpose and practicality of what you learn. When choosing a university, prioritise those that offer hands-on learning experiences to ensure a well-rounded education.
Commenting on this, Professor Dr. Maurits van Rooijen, President of the University of Europe for Applied Sciences and UE Dubai campus commented “Selecting the right college is a pivotal decision with far-reaching implications for one's career and life journey. Beyond accreditation and reputation, key considerations include a college's faculty expertise, diverse learning opportunities, vibrant campus culture and networking prospects."
He also added, "In today's global context, an ideal college should foster personal growth while preparing students for future success by providing essential practical experience and international connections within their chosen fields. When selecting a college, prioritising institutions that emphasise combining theoretical knowledge with practical expertise through partnerships, collaborative projects, and internships with international, reputable institutions is crucial. At these institutions, graduate students are thoroughly prepared to address real-world challenges and have enhanced employment prospects, allowing them to assume roles where they can contribute positively to their societies."
Class Size Matters
In university, building understanding and good relationships with professors is essential. That's why the size of your classes matters. The difference between smaller, discussion-based classes and large lectures with hundreds of students can impact your learning experience. Larger university may have teaching assistants for bigger classes, affecting the average class size a professor handles during lectures. Choosing a university with an optimal student-professor ratio ensures personal attention, effective learning, and meaningful interactions.
Cost And Fee Structure
While the courses may be similar, the fee structure varies from university to university. It's essential to thoroughly enquire about the fee structure before admission. Involve your parents in this discussion since they will likely be covering the fees. You may also consider taking out a loan. Keep in mind that different programs within a university and across various universities have distinct fee structures. Understanding these details is vital in making informed decisions about your education.
Don't Get Excited By The Big Names
Don't let a prestigious name blind you from thorough research. Admission to a 'big-name' university doesn't guarantee it's the right fit for you. Visit the campus, explore student life, and research courses related to your potential major across all your admitted universities. Check job placements for your major. If the university's qualities don't align with your preferences, it might not be the right choice for you. Look beyond the name and prioritise what suits your needs.
How You Feel About That University
While amenities, fees, and curriculums are important, your personal feeling about the university matters the most. Visiting the campus helps you understand if you can imagine yourself there daily. The university's vibe influences your mood and overall experience, setting the tone for other aspects of your life. When making the final decision, consider how comfortable and at home you feel on the campus. It's a crucial factor that goes beyond facilities and plays a significant role in your overall satisfaction with your university experience.