This informative article contains 9 important factors to consider when choosing a university or college.
Every person desires to make a living for themselves because it is usually a proof of a person’s worth or value and one of such pathways to achieving them, even though not totally is earning a University degree. This is one of the major steps a teenager most especially has to take and they have a lasting impact on an individual’s personal and professional life.
Attending a university exposes you to people from diverse backgrounds who think and act differently from you, your minds are open to ideas and a new way of thinking. Earning a degree also obviously gives you a higher income and a great opportunity to find your purpose. They type of university you attend or want to attend also plays an important role too in shaping you. A graduate from the University of Ghana would certainly think, act and even speak differently from a graduate from a South African University because apart from the school curriculum, the school environment, type of faculty members, values of the school also shape the minds of the students.
Hence, it is imperative that prospective students do not make decisions out of just the fleeting emotional feeling. It is one of the important decisions anyone would make, hence some factors must be considered before making a choice.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE
1. Why do you want to go to school?
First, it is important to ascertain why you really want to go to school. Is it because your other colleges have gotten your admission or there is enough money to take you through the four or five years in the four walls of a university or to earn a living? This might seem a difficult question to answer, therefore warrants a time of self-reflection. Different people have different reasons for earning a degree, so as a person you should have your reasons too before going through the rigorous process of gaining admission and going through classes for averagely four years of your life. So what is yours? When you are able to find an answer to this pertinent question, you have taken a first and major step to your success.
2. Do proper research
Second, before making a choice of university, it is necessary you do your research in order to be sure that the regulatory body has accredited the school. There are a lot of universities or courses in colleges that have not been licensed by the government, and there are a lot of sad stories of students after their third year realizing that the government did not accredit the course they are undertaking. What a waste! In order not to suffer this ordeal, investigate, the internet has made this all most seamless. You can quickly do a google search of the country’s regulatory body and get information on accredited schools and courses. Note that there could be fake news! So seeking counsel from those in the university or education consultancy is advised. They are ready information you would need about their school.
3. Geographic Location
Third, the geographic location of the school is also a very vital option to consider. How safe is the environment? even though the climate and location of the university are expected to be secure. Make your findings too. What about the crime rate within the school and school environs? Check the statistics of schools with high crime rates and weigh your options. Also, what is the weather condition of the school environment? can you cope in very high or low temperatures? For students seeking admission abroad, the weather condition of the school should be considered before making a choice.
4. Financial cost
Fourth, which is usually one major determining factor is cost. After taking other options into consideration, the cost of the university can thwart your plans. Therefore, count your cost and let it be part of your first considerations. For instance, earning a degree in the US can be very expensive especially when you consider tuition, housing, food, transport, books and the overall cost of living, unless you seek funding or scholarships. But in countries like Germany and other European countries, tuition can be very affordable. This still boils down to research. If you want scholarships or assistantships choose a school with such options and if not make sure you are able to foot your bills throughout your stay in the school. Note that in order to assist students financially, some schools have work-study options where students can study and take jobs for a limited number of hours per week. If you think you can combine both tasks, schools with such options would be recommended.
5. Academic Reputation
Fifth, make sure you check the academic quality of the school. What about its international reputation, the faculty members and quality of research output? Are the courses outdated or relevant to teach in-demand skills for tomorrow’s career? Visit the school’s website for details on your chosen course, the course requirements, units, profile of faculty members etc. The faculty members must also be seasoned and well experienced in the classroom and on the field in their respective fields of study in order to deliver efficiently. Imagine a Lecturer in the engineering department with no experience in the field or not even certified. How exactly would such a class run? At some time in your career, you might need to get some courses or probably a second degree from an oversea country, which would require some recommendation from your faculty, so the school must be recognized both locally and internationally for collaborations and research endeavours. A university is said to be credible if they have conducive research environment and output, so how well does your choice university support research development and innovation?
6. The student-to-faculty ratio
Sixth, you should also consider the student to faculty ratio. A lot of people cannot cope academically in a class of many students. If you happen to fall into this category, you would have to opt for schools with fewer students. Examples are specialized colleges for specific courses. There are institutions of science and technology where STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related courses are taken. It expected that such schools possess the necessary facilities such as laboratories, gadgets etc. for intensive and practical study for the few students and faculty members access to intensive.
7. Extra-curricular activities
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Extra-curricular activities are also as important as academic work. Students should also consider the social life of the school. Extra-curricular activities have proven to improve academic performances, given students the liberty to explore their interests and improve essential life skills. Examples of such groups are debates clubs, athletics society, writers club, culture clubs, volunteer and community service groups, student newspaper clubs etc. As a social or extroverted person or sportsman, a school with significant extra-curricular activities is fit, so you can express yourselves, even though there should be a balance.
8. Factor of Religion
Seventh, it is very important to consider the spiritual climate of the university. There are universities that are denominational, hence expect admitted students to adhere to their religious principles. A conservative would be advised to either attend a liberal university or a school that supports his convictions. Most of the private universities are religious in nature because there adhere to the beliefs of the owners and other shareholders, hence the values, objectives of the school would reflect significantly.
9. Availability of Financial aids
While in the university, students at some point might have to undergo research or trips that might require some substantial financial investment depending on the course in question. A science-related course, for instance, might require funding at some point for a research programme, hence such students might consider a school where Financial aids for research are available. Though this might not be very necessary as an undergraduate, Postgraduate student might want to consider this. Search thoroughly for schools that have financial aid options. However, there are private organizations both local and international that partner with certain universities to provide special funding to students to pursue that research endeavour. Some examples are DAAD, Chevening, Erasmus etc.
It is beautiful to earn a degree to get the most out of your life and career; however, these and many more are some of the factors to consider before making any choice, in order to avoid painful stories of regrets in the future. All of this information can be gotten in the university’s website or a request mails to the appropriate authorities.