Choosing a university to study abroad may be one of the most important decisions that you make in your life. Many students spend months, and sometimes years, pondering over the various choices available to them, shortlisting universities and conducting tremendous amounts of research before finally settling on their desired options. There are many factors to consider when choosing a university to study abroad. Here are our top six most important things to research before making your decision:
Things Should Consider Before Choose a University to Study Abroad
When you’re looking for a university to study abroad, one of the first things you’ll want to research is the location. Where do you want to live and study? Do you want to be in a big city or a smaller town? Do you want to be by the beach or in the mountains? What kind of weather do you prefer? Do you like snow? Are you comfortable in rainy climates?
You’ll be spending 3 or 4 years in the city you select, and perhaps even more if you choose to pursue a further degree or work after graduation. Picking a location is perhaps the most important decision you will have to make when choosing a university.
Of course, cost is always a factor to consider when choosing between universities. While tuition and room and board are the easiest factors to track and budget for, many students and families sometimes forget to take living expenses into account as well. How much does it actually cost to eat, drink, travel and spend in the city that you are going to be living in?
Make sure you research all of the above before making your final decision. The worst thing to happen is if you begin your study abroad journey and then finally realize that your finances don’t make sense, and have to withdraw or transfer elsewhere.
If you’re from a developing country, make sure to check the exchange rate between your home currency and the university’s currency, as this can also affect the cost of attendance and overall financial outlay.
Another thing to research is the size of the university. Do you want to go to a large university with thousands of students or a smaller university with a more intimate setting? The size of the university is a big determinant of the learning environment the university provides. Do you prefer large classrooms and lecture halls, with an opportunity to network with a seemingly countless number of students. Or do you want a smaller setting with low teacher student ratios and opportunities for more individualized learning.
Another thing to consider is what kind of student life do you want? Are extracurricular activities something that is important to you? Do they have a vibrant campus life? These are important things to bear in mind, because the size of the university has a massive impact on student life.
Most people underestimate the importance of factoring in university size in their decision, as university sizes can range from a few hundred students to tens of thousands of students.
Academic Programs –
You’ll also want to research the academic programs offered by the university. Make sure the university has a program that interests you and that you meet the requirements for admission into that program. Consider the length of the program, the coursework, and the type of degree you’ll receive.
Some universities even make the core classes for the degree available to the public. This is something you will want to look into. Do these classes interest you? Do you think they will help you advance your knowledge in the subject area?
Is the university highly ranked for the degree/course that you want to pursue? Is it well respected in the field? Will this support you in your career after you graduate?
All of the above are important questions that you should ask yourself before shortlisting a university.
Job prospects and alumni network –
Finally, job prospects are very important when choosing a university. Make sure to research the university’s alumni network and job placement statistics. What is the university’s graduation employment rate? Does the university organize placement fairs? What kind of support do they offer graduates? Does the university’s alumni network have a strong presence in the workforce? Have alumni from the university gone on to achieve notable feats in the corporate, entertainment or political arenas?
These are important factors to consider when choosing a university. Graduates from universities with strong alumni networks often have an easier time finding jobs and networking for career opportunities.
Choosing a university to study abroad is a very, very big decision. Make sure you do your research before making your final choice because this will impact you for the rest of your life, and ensure that you consider all of the factors that are important to you and choose the university to study abroad that is the best fit for you.