Indeed, it is not easy to choose between universities. However, universities often have key differences between them that can help you in making this big decision. It is essential that you ensure that the character and focus of the university align with your personality, interests, and goals. Just like every one of us, every college has its persona and here is how you can find a university that fits you best.
The network the university belongs to would tell you the university’s character as it would give you a better idea of the institution’s focus. For instance, members of Australia’s Group of Eight are known for their intensive research focus and their broad range of degree offerings. You can also look out for international networks like Association of Pacific Rim Universities which can facilitate exchanges and other study opportunities with prestigious institutions overseas.
Areas of strength
One thing you should note is that no university is good at everything and no university that is bad at everything as well. All colleges have areas that they excel in, and therefore you need to ensure that the course you are applying to is a strong point of the university you are targeting and is an area the school prioritizes on. University’s websites are places where you can research on their teaching and research strength. By choosing a university that excels in your field of study, you will be provided with access to more specialized opportunities including field-specific academic opportunities, employment opportunities, and custom-built facilities. You will likely benefit if your university excels in research in your field. For example, you may be taught by prominent academics and may also receive plenty of opportunities to undertake research.
Students view university as a route to improve their chances of gaining employment in their chosen field of study. Universities, however, differ in how they incorporate corporate life into the classroom, thus preparing the students for work. You can even find research and technology parks where university-affiliated organizations are based in some universities. Other universities, on the other hand, have strong corporate links which allow them in better facilitating graduate recruitment opportunities such as internships and industry projects. In the case where your focus is on research and would like to pursue a career as an academic, then perhaps the universities’ research partnership, academic links and research facilities will be of greater importance.
Another vital trait would be the university’s sense of community. You need to ensure that the university’s sense of community is one you would like to be in. University communities have different sizes and are spread out differently. Some are big; some are small. Some are compact; some are spread across multiple campuses. Regardless of the university communities’ trait, it is important that you ensure that it is a cohesive one which offers with you plenty of opportunities to meet new friends, be it through event, activities or shared facilities. Universities usually have a unique “feel.” Some universities may be cosmopolitan, some may be academic, and some may be energetic. Hence it is vital that the university’s atmosphere is one that fits your personality well. You can always visit the university’s website, the campus or even chat with the university’s staff and students to have a better idea of the community of the university.