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Tips For Carefully Choosing a University
Whether you are currently, or soon to be in the process of selecting a postsecondary institution for the first time, or are already at one and are looking to take your studies elsewhere, choosing a university is not something to take lightly and should be carefully planned and thought out.
This is a place where you will, presumably, be spending the next four years (at least) of your life. It is where you are going to be spending a tremendous amount of your (or someone else’s) money. The decision is likely going to be a life altering one, in ways that you have not, perhaps even cannot yet imagine. Taking the time to carefully evaluate your options is something you owe both present and future ‘you’. Below are some tips for choosing a university, so that you get the most out of your postsecondary experience.
Choosing a university means looking at the rankings
A study released by the website The Student Room in 2017 found that 1 in 5 university students regretted their choice of school. Twenty percent of university students feeling unsatisfied with the school they chose to study at is an alarmingly high number. It is also understandable. Most undergraduate students enter university at a time in their lives when they are, at best, not really sure what they want out of life, and more often than not, completely ignorant of the possibilities.
Thankfully, for those willing to put a little effort in, there are a multitude of university ranking websites and organizations out there which put a lot of time into analyzing schools and curating lists based on certain factors – often giving schools overall aggregate rankings. Take some time to peruse these sites while you are making your shortlist of schools. This brings us to our next tip: make a short list.
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket
Many students, including current, new, and soon-to-be, make the mistake of selecting too few schools they are willing to study at. Often times schools are chosen because it’s where a close friend, or friends are studying, or it’s where a girlfriend or boyfriend is attending. The worst possible reason for choosing a school has to be its reputation as a “party school.” If you do anything, don’t choose a school because of the nightlife. All schools will end up having fun nightlife; it’s inevitable when so many young people get together.
If you are deciding where to study and spend a very large amount of money, it is absolutely vital that you go through the shortlisting process. This means evaluating several schools you would like to study at (and, importantly, know you can get into) and coming up with an evaluation system that lets you narrow down your top ‘X’ number. You should take the time to submit careful applications to all those schools. The biggest mistake you can make is to either take whatever you can get (if you don’t have to), or hope you get into the one or two schools you chose.
Look at the course content
Choosing a university and deciding on the courses you want to enroll in go hand in hand. At the undergraduate level, who is teaching the course and the course material they have chosen for their syllabus is not as important as it is as the graduate level (though it can still totally make or break a course), but it is important to ask yourself if you really want to study at a given school.
If you already have a general idea of the courses you wish to take, then all you have to do is look at the course description and review what the professor plans to teach. Spend some time reviewing both the course material and the professor themselves. Do some background research into both the person and the material. Do both seem interesting and compelling? Is this a course you are going to enjoy taking?
Universities offer a wide variety of different courses, and employ different people, with different styles and objectives. Knowing more about those people and objectives will help you select the school with the courses that most appeal to you. When you do finally decide where you want to apply, there are services out there to help you polish and perfect your admission essays and application letters.
Cost of living
One of the unfortunate realities of postsecondary education is that many of the factors which either allow or prohibit you from studying at a given institution are out of your control. If you don’t have the good fortune to come from a family that is able to pay for your education, you are going to have to consider loans or working while studying (or both), as well as what you can afford. You might end up getting an offer from the best school, in the biggest, most expensive city in the country, and have to turn it down because living there is simply too costly.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing a university is how much financial hardship the decision is going to impose upon you. Take a city like Vancouver, Toronto, New York, or Sydney. All contain highly esteemed postsecondary institutions. All are some of the most desirable cities to live in in the entire world, but all require a large amount of money to complete a 4-year degree in. Almost twenty percent of students turn down offers from top schools every year because of financial reasons. It is not always an imprudent thing to do. University, at the end of the day, is an investment like any other, and should be evaluated just as shrewdly.
Knowing where and what you want to study involves a lot of thoughtful, often painful deliberation and soul searching. Choosing a university can be stressful, and applying even more so, so get in touch with Homework Help Global and have a professional writer help you plan and execute your application process.
Seltzer, R. (2017). “Turning down top choices.” Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/03/23/study-shows-how-price-sensitive-students-are-selecting-colleges
Yorke, H. (2017). “One in five students regret their choice of university, study shows.” The Telegraph. Retrieved from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2017/01/20/one-five-students-regret-choice-university-new-study-shows/Share: