Out of nearly 4000 degree-granting institutions in the USA, which could be the right university for you? Your college years are not only about academics. It is a special time in-between being a minor and an adult, or between being an amateur and a professional. During the two to four years in college, you have the chance to pursue your interests, explore other fields, participate in activities, and expand your network.
Why is it important to choose the right university for you?
As a student, you will be spending most of your time at the university. Your university will influence who your friends will be and what interests and hobbies you will develop. The right university offers opportunities or activities you can take advantage of. However, unlike your previous schools, your university will impact the trajectory of your future career and may have far-reaching consequences in your life.
Perhaps the most important consideration is finding a university where you can grow and have an enjoyable college experience. While traditional ranking systems are helpful in finding top-performing universities, your college needs and personal circumstances may not be compatible with the criteria they used. In this blog post, we will go over the factors you should personally think about when deciding on the right university for you.
Criteria for Choosing the Right University
You will be spending two or more years studying your major. It is crucial that you are at least curious about the field you are applying for. Your field of interest will be your initial basis for narrowing down the universities you may apply for.
You may check the curriculum and the possible career paths that you can take after completing the program. Are these relevant to your goals or interests? Additionally, you may also check the professors’ background and research activities. Do you think you can learn a lot from the professors or lecturers?
Because of the recent pandemic, you may also want to consider the university’s online learning platform. Are there online facilities that are available to students like libraries, forums, and messaging platforms?
Big universities are often popular because they have more graduates. Most large universities have laboratories that are well-equipped and available for students. However, big is not always the best. Smaller universities have less competition, so you can have more chances to join activities and excel. On average, small classes have more discussion and more opportunities for one-on-one consultations.
Does the university have dormitories or accommodations? Or will you be commuting to school? Since you will be staying in the community inside or around the campus, you may also want to consider whether the campus is located in the city, the suburb, or in the countryside. Some might also consider the weather or being near the mountains or the beach. Moreover, you may want to know if there are activities in the area and in the campus that you are interested in, such as clubs, NGOs, or perhaps study abroad programs. Are there nearby bars, theaters, parks, or perhaps a place you can volunteer (especially if you are taking pre-med)?
Once you have selected the universities based on academics and environment, you now need to find out if you can afford them or not. For some, the cost of education may be the most important issue. With tuition fees increasing every year, many are afraid of accumulating student debts. However, we believe that you should still try applying for high-ticket universities. Many universities offer scholarships, financial aid, and student assistantships. You may also want to contact the school personally to ask for information that is not yet available online.
Still Unsure Which University to Choose?
Definitely, you should not choose a university just because others have gone there or are going there. If you are stuck because there are still too many universities on your list, apply to all of them. However, if you simply do not know where to start because you do not know what you want, then try finding your purpose. One way is through self-reflection. You can check our post about Discovering Life’s Purpose by clicking HERE.
You may want to attend a community college. It will give you time to evaluate your future plans and academic choices. At the same time, you can also complete minor subjects. In the US, the units earned at community colleges can be credited by some universities.
Another option is taking a gap year, which you can spend on taking minor classes or an internship. You may also want to volunteer or travel or pursue your craft.
As W.E. Henly wrote you are “master” of your “fate”, so choose intentionally.