You’ve decided to attend university after high school, but now you’re stumped. How do you know which university is right for you? It can be a daunting choice. There are so many options to choose from, and even more programs to evaluate. How do you determine which is right for you? Here are a few things to think about when making your choice.
Do you want to go away or stay home?
One way to start narrowing down the options is to decide if you want to leave home or stay at home. There is no right answer. In fact, it’s very personal. If you crave the experience of living on your own, you’ll want to focus your search on universities outside of your hometown.
If you prefer to commute, begin researching options that will allow you to drive, bus or take the train to school. Some students are ready to make the leap and have the financial support to afford both tuition and housing. Others might prefer the comfort of home and be excited to save up while living at home.
Of course, if there are many universities of interest to you in your city, you might want to consider selecting one of them and still living in residence. Think about the best options for you and start your search with that in mind.
What do you want to study?
Certain programs are well known for business, science or language. Do you have your heart set on becoming a poet, nutritionist or veterinarian? What are you passionate about? Speak to your guidance counsellor, go online or pick up a magazine or guide book dedicated to delivering students the ins and outs of various programs. These resources will tell you about the different programs and what they’re best known for. Look at each program’s requirements.
Have you taken the right prerequisites? Do you have the grades you’ll need to be considered? What else are they looking for in an applicant?. If you have already completed the requirements, that’s great. You’re ahead of the game. If you don’t meet the application requirements, you might want to consider taking a missing course, upgrading your mark or doing some extra volunteer work.
Do everything you can in advance so you can apply to the programs that interest you most.
No matter what your interest, you’ll want to look ahead. Do everything you can in advance so you can apply to the programs that interest you most.
What kind of campus culture are you looking for?
It’s not only the university’s academic reputation that can be important. Do you want to be part of a big campus or something smaller and more intimate? Do you want research and teaching opportunities or a school that is more social? Different universities and even programs and dorms within each university might be known for offering students various experiences.
Think about what you’re looking for in a university experience and speak to people who already go there. Ask them what the university is like. What is their program is like? How are the students? What do they think about where they live? Visit the campus and explore it for yourself. What are your impressions? Do you feel safe, comfortable and happy there?
It’s important to check out more than one so you can compare.
Are you looking for something specific?
Do you want a school that offers joint degrees? Perhaps you want to study abroad and need to know if your school has relationships with international universities. What if you want to take a year off—will the registrar allow you to maintain your space in your program? What if you choose to switch universities—will your credits transfer or will you have to begin again? Will you be looking for an internship or coop placement at some point during your degree? Does the program you’re considering offer those kinds of experiences? If you want to go right into the workforce after graduation, what is your program’s rate of employment?
You might want to consider a program that puts you in good stead to find a job right away. Other programs might feed into further degrees, and perhaps that’s what you want.
Look ahead and think about where you see yourself in the future so you know what questions to ask and what answers you’re hoping to find.
Should you go with your gut?
Sometimes, you’ll visit a campus and just recognize what’s right for you.
Once you’ve done all the research and have narrowed it down to a few universities or programs within those universities, apply to each one and see what arises. Maybe you’ll get your first choice, and that will be great. Maybe you’ll get your second choice and discover it was actually the best choice for you after all.
Look ahead and think about where you see yourself in the future