It is certainly daunting when you are 18, and asked to make one of the most important decision in your life – which University do I go to?
If you are anything like the typical students whom I get, your first stop is to check the rankings – QS Rankings, Times Higher Education, ARWU…. none of them are even official, and still, students treat them like a bible. Yet, it is important to highlight that the best moments of your time at University is beyond those rankings, and the important lessons in life often take place away from the classrooms. With that in mind, I’ve narrowed down some of the questions you’d like to ask yourself before choosing a University.
What type of University do I want to enter?
Do a search on how you will be taught and assessed in the Universities of your choice. Some Universities are more traditional, meaning that majority of their courses have a number of exams and essays while the modern Universities place emphasis on group work, presentations and practical lessons. Of course, there are Universities that are trying to be in between so it is important to read the course content and structure.
Do I want a large University or one that gives me personalised attention?
Group of Eights in Australia, which are bigger Universities typically have large campuses, as well as a healthy selection of student services and things to do. Class sizes tend to be bigger and students should be more proactive and initiative if they wish to get extra attention. A smaller University may offer a more intimate and personalised experience. A class is required to interact and discuss with each other.
Do I prefer a campus life or the city?
Do you love the grassy fields, open space and outdoors? Maybe a campus life at a rural area would be an adventure for you. On the other hand, if you’re used to late night shopping and the frequent trips to movies and restaurants, these kind of campus life may leave you unhappy during your University life. When deciding the options for a University, think about where you grew up, what you are accustomed to and how much of a change you want.
Does the University has Clubs, Societies and Sports that I want to join?
Life at university can be much more than simply graduating with a degree if you want it to be. Many institutions are famed for their well-rounded approach to extracurricular activities such as clubs and societies and sports, such as soccer and rugby (the destination will matter, like New Zealand is very well-known for rugby). If you’re eager to get involved in life outside the classroom, it’s important to check out what’s available. Get in touch with the Guild House or Student Union to see what is going on within the student bubble.
Can I afford the cost of living?
The cost of living will vary widely from one university to the next and should be a key consideration before choosing your place. In London, the cost of living is almost twice as much than it is in North Ireland. Living in Adelaide will be more affordable than living in a state like Sydney and Melbourne. Ultimately, choosing a university should be as much about what suits your personal situation as it is about the picking the right course.
Remember, while the primary purpose of undertaking a degree is to arm yourself with a distinguished qualification in the subject of your choosing, it’s important to enjoy the experience too!