Each year, high school students all around the world are faced with the difficult task of choosing a university or college that is right for them. It’s an important decision, that will create a path for the rest of your life and there are a lot of things to consider. So how do you choose a college or university that is the best fit for you? Below is our ultimate guide on what you should think about when choosing a school that is right for you.
University is expensive and depending on where you wish to go it can become more or less so. If you plan on staying in your home country you can usually get student loans to pay for your tuition, living expenses and rent, however you need to give this money back once you have finished your degree as it is, well, a loan.
Countries such as Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Finland, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Iceland, France and Belgium have free or cheap University tuition for everyone (EU, EEA and rest of the world students). This means that if you can’t afford university in your home country you might be able to afford being somewhere else.
Do you want to stay close to home? Do you want to see what living on your own feels like? And do you want to see new places? Do you want to be close to your family and friends? These are all questions you need to answer before choosing the right university for you.
While many choose to go to university out of state or abroad, others choose to stay closer to home for convenience and personal preference. Typically, out-of-state colleges are slightly costlier, but make up for it with new experiences and new people. Staying closer to home may ease some of the financial burdens associated with going to school. Regardless of your choice, it’s important to remember that the location of college does play a factor in cost.
Additionally, the setting may play a factor in your success in college. Some people require year-round sunshine in order to maintain their mental health. Others have a passion for outdoor activities and may need a more diversified climate. Some prefer rural living, while others need a bustling nightlife in order to let loose on the weekends. These are important considerations to keep in mind when finding your ideal school environment.
Some universities are known to be better if you want to study medicine, others are better if you want to study languages, or business, or law, etc. To choose a college, you need to also consider what you plan on majoring in when you are there. You don’t want to be stuck with average professors lecturing you about something you are really passionate about, you want someone who has the same kind of passion. So, we suggest researching what university is known for the subject you want to study.
When applying for university you should always keep in mind your goals. Are you going to university to network and learn from the best in the field? Or is your goal to branch out and try new things to find out what you are passionate about? Or maybe you want to use college as an opportunity to travel and see new places. Whatever, the end goal is you should try and remember it when choosing a college.
For many students, the size of the institution also plays a role in choosing a college. While some may prefer a small liberal arts college in a rural town, others prefer a more urban and populated university. If you want to go to a place with shopping centres, nightclubs, bars and restaurants you should probably choose a University in a bigger town or city, instead of somewhere more rural. Whereas, if you are looking for a calm, tranquil place to take on your studies than a big cosmopolitan city is probably not for you.
You can research all you want, but nothing will be better than visiting the universities in person. A campus visit provides potential students with the unique opportunity to envision what campus life is like on a daily basis. To truly understand the college experience at that particular institution, it’s important that you visit the sit in on a lecture and meet with other students who already know the ropes.
To truly understand what university life is all about when you are on a campus visit, you should try and do some of the following:
- Sit in on a class or two that interest you
- Set up a meeting with a professor in your chosen major
- Ask students how they feel about classes, their transition to university, and what they love about their school
- Take a full tour of the campus including the campus facilities
- Stay overnight in the dorms