Choosing a university is not only about looking at the brand’s prestige. Students should also consider finding the ideal environment where they will be happy to spend their lives at in the next four years. For this reason, when students are considering available options, they also need to evaluate whether other aspects of the school meet their criteria.
What are some of the checklists to look at?
Draw up an ideal listing
Take a while to list down your favorite universities and make a list of target schools. Making a list is easy, but you must consider the list from different perspectives. Things to consider at this stage involves the school location, enrollment rate, majors and projects, campus environment, extracurricular activities and costs. If you are an international student, diversity is perhaps another important factor for you.
Consider the strengths’ of the university
Different universities have its own strengths and weaknesses. This is extremely important especially when it comes to choosing a university that aligns with your major interest. A university may rank high in its overall score, but low in a specific field which you may be interested in. The ideal solution is to find a balance between both.
Participate in the school tour
Joining a school tour can help in the decision-making process. This gives you a chance to personally experience the school environment. On your tour, ask yourself some questions: Will you accept this pace of life? Do you like the learning atmosphere in this school? Is this the culture for you? You get to meet seniors who bring you on the tour and those are the people who can be your first friends in the school if you end up there.
However, if the costs of joining the school tour is too high, you can always opt to do a virtual tour. If you have any follow-up questions, you can contact the representatives.
Explore the school’s career support and development
A university is usually the last place students go before they enter the workforce. Therefore, the employment rate of the school has become one of the important factors for you to consider when selecting a university. It is recommended that students ask the relevant representatives about job fairs and campus interview opportunities. Ensure that the school has sufficient resources to provide the necessary help for employment, such as: helping students develop soft skills, providing employment and salary data, promoting internship opportunities, conducting mock interviews, explaining the recruitment process, and so on. Some universities host frequent alumni meetings for current students to network with working professionals.
Financial aid and scholarship opportunity
It is not uncommon to take up a loan to pay off university fees. If it is important for you to incur lower school fees, applying for scholarships or financial aid may be a viable option. Different universities provide different types of scholarships, they include scholarships for academic excellence, athletics, minority groups, female empowerment and many more. It is your duty to research on the available options that suit you.
Remember to communicate with your family
Students tend to forget to involve their family in the decision-making process. Granted choosing your own university is something very personal, but don’t forget to sought your family’s opinions too. They may be able to weigh in their thoughts and feelings, and provide some insights into your choices. Your family could be as anxious as you because they care for your well-being and this could be the first time you will be leaving home. Their feelings ought to be cared for too.
All students have a list of target schools they aspire to enter. However, failing to enter your desired school is not the end of the world. Don’t let your disappointment get carried away. It is normal to sulk for a while, but remember, there are greater things out there beyond entering your first choice of school. Think about making a new circle of friends in that new school, joining your favorite extracurricular club and embracing a new culture!