2 Steps for Selecting the Right University
It’s that season, the stressful time when young people crowd around universities nervously trying to make “life-changing” decisions. This process is so stressful for some that often they simply close their eyes and point to whatever. Others listen to their parents who have carefully planned out their future as lawyers or economists. Too often young people pick blindly without ever reflecting on what interests THEM! Of course, picking a university can be daunting, but as always, we tried to simplify it as follows:
I. Identify your interests
II. Zoom in
I. Identify your interests
(Do you know who you are?)
Who are you?
Your university should match your interests, talents, traits, and aspirations. Do a little self-reflection and industry research. What do you want from professors? What kind of classmates do you hope to work with? What’s important to you, overall?
Who are they?
Each university has a specific culture and clearly outlined mission and vision. As you look at universities consider the ones that fit your aspirations, personality, and long-term plans. Pick your educational institution accordingly. If you’re seeking a lot of attention from professors then finding yourself in a 600 person classroom might not be a good fit. Know what you want and what they can offer!
Who influences you?
Choosing a university shouldn’t be just listening to your uncle’s advice or picking the “sexy” professions! What’s hot today may not even exist tomorrow. Speak with people who are professionals in your chosen field and ask them if the profession you picked will be needed on the labor market when you graduate? Are there jobs in this sphere today? Will there be jobs that need these skills in 5-10 years?
Part II. Zoom In (Focus your list)
(Do you know what you’re seeking?)
Short list it!
Once you’ve identified what you’re seeking and looked at what universities have to offer, short list them. Identify 5-10 universities which match your interest and delve into researching details.
Compare apples to apples.
If you are chasing after prestige, keep in mind that fads fade. How do you measure, prestige anyway? Are you comparing the profession titles, salaries, or number of vacancies currently on the labor market?
Which professors are leaders in your field of interest? How can you stay competitive? What will be the return on your investment of time and money? Is a fancy university title all that matters?
Expectations should match reality.
It’s easy to idolize concepts we’ve dreamt of since childhood. If you’ve always wanted to be a designer or diplomat you should test this out before committing to a 4 year university. You can do this with free-education resources. Take a free online course using MOOCs, mass open online courses. Weekly try watching a course video. If you love it, go for it! If you’re falling asleep each time you hit “play” maybe you should consider something else.
Go for quality:
Of course quality and prestige can be important, too! We have found a list of comparisons terms for some of the world’s leading universities. These terms help you use a “smart rating” which gives the college a grade at first glance. When picking universities abroad consider the acceptance rate, average SAT/ACT scores, out-of-state tuition, and other requirements which you’ll find on every college website under the “admissions” tab.
It’s important to seek out a major that you’ll truly enjoy at a university that fits you best because 4 years, and the lifetime after that, can be a very long time, if you’ve made the “wrong” choice. So, if you’re on a mission to find a place that will make your heart sing, put some effort into it and think for yourself! Do some research and make educated choices that will be right for YOU!