Selecting universities to apply to for undergraduate or graduate courses is a daunting task. Simply going by the rank of the universities given by the US NEWS, Times Higher Education, World Report or any other agency is not the right approach. All these institutes use their own parameters and methodology to give ranking hence it cannot be used as ranking for ‘you’. To read how university rankings are derived click here. Mentioned below are broad guidelines to help choosing the universities.
- Find your interest:Zeroing down on the area of interest is of utmost importance since you will spend your entire career in that field. Although some universities and countries give an option of changing course, it is always better to explore all options and then choose the field. It is an elaborate process so be patient and work on it.
- Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses: This involves introspection. Be realistic and not futuristic. For example, you may be interested in computer programming and you may want to pursue a career in it, but if you are weak in mathematics, you will eventually not enjoy the course and feel completely dejected. So, to assume that you will cope-up with mathematics when required to, is being too naïve.
- Align your interests and goals: Once you know your interests, based on your strengths and weaknesses, you need to set a goal. Your academic profile, standardized exam scores and other activities will help you narrow down the list of universities.
- Study university profile and personality: Each university has a unique feature for the same course. Research laboratories, class size, internship options, placements post study, industry collaborations, extracurricular club activities, international student bodies, scholarship opportunities and so many more. Go through each university in detail and try to harmonize with your priorities.
- Read Course and Faculty details: Despite each course being similar at different universities, they are not the same so get into details. Each faculty has a different approach and methodology to teach the students. Electives offered also vary for different universities.
- Check for trade-offs: You might be a national level athlete and would want to pursue it even while in university, but the university of your first choice may not support the sport. In such cases you need to check your comfort with the compromise or else change your selection.
- Check for non-academic parameters: Proximity to home or relatives, financial aid availability, safety, cost, study abroad opportunities,
- Make an informed choice: Taking all the above factors into consideration, bring down your university choices. Remember, applying to only one is not wise and applying to plenty is being directionless.