One of the most important steps in our school life is choosing where to attend college. It should not be taken lightly since this is the place that will prepare us for our future life and career.
As such, there are several factors you need to consider to properly pick the university that FITS you. I know, at this point most of us are too young to think about things like this, but hey, it is what it is. Might as well take the time and weigh in all the variables.
Let’s see some important aspects to help you make a decision.
Sure, this depends from country to country, but distance can be quite challenging. Are you ok with leaving your family, friends, everyone you know behind? Thousands and thousands of kilometers away? Sure, the internet is a miracle worker to make us feel closer from different sides of the world, but it is still hard.
Still, there are two sides to this. Some people can’t cut the cord and end up staying close; others take off, wishing for independence or a fresh start and go study as far away as they can. Nevertheless, it is something to consider.
Tuition and expenses
When thinking about where to study, tuition is rarely a factor. Our younger selves are too busy dreaming to even think about that.
The sad reality is that attending university can be expensive. Some countries are extremely cheap, while others charge an arm and a leg. Not to mention the living expenses, which can vary immensely from town to town. A measly 50 or 100 kilometres distance can double or more the living expenses, like rent and bills.
This should not stop you from going to your dream university though. You just might have to look into a scholarship or a part-time gig.
Events and networking
This is one of the most important elements when choosing a university since this will have a defining outcome in your future. Great universities work on preparing their students and setting them up for success. They will host several fairs, lectures and internships, giving you the chance to grow and connect with important employers and institutions.
Obviously, they open these doors for students, but you have to put in the work and thrive. The competition between students is a lot fiercer in good universities. If you want to make the most out of these events, you need to be a good student and super sociable. You have to be memorable and make employers want to recruit you.
Classes and extracurricular activities
Every university has some type of specialty. They either excel at IT, some type of science, math, languages, something. So, it is extremely important to find out the main focus of the university you are considering attending. If you want a college degree in IT, it makes little sense to attend a university known for its language courses.
You also should check out the type of classes they offer. There are teachers that take a more theoretical approach, as in talking nonstop and give materials for you to study; while others believe in more practical tasks, as papers, workgroups, research assignments. You should choose the type of education and teaching methods that fit you best.
Let’s not forget about extracurricular activities, which are essential to many of us. I used to swim competitively, so I had to apply to a university that supported this sport. I’m also a total nerd, so gaming-related activities were a big plus there. The student council used to organize LAN parties on a weekly basis. So, don’t forget to research this when choosing your university.
When we are young, the thing that interests them most is the college’s community and vibes. And it is totally normal. We are moving out and starting to be independent… and we want to party a lot!
The perfect way to see a college’s type of community is to visit it! Take a few days and plan the trip. Go to parties, talk to people, check their online forums, ask around. After a few days there, you will have a sense of the vibe and if you like it.
In the end, the decision is up to you but making an informed decision will, quite literally, have a huge impact on your future. One last tip: if you are looking for the perfect university, give yourself a comfortable deadline to do this. You can always transfer later, but it is better to avoid a rushed decision, especially when it is this important. Good luck finding your place!