University life is not just an educational experience, but a means of preparing yourself for the future and the challenges of the job market. Therefore, choosing your university is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. We recommend you to stop and take some time to evaluate what kind of university experience you want to have, in and out of the classroom? What resources or features does a university need to offer in order for it to be a good fit for your personality? While advice from friends and family is a good starting point, we suggest you consider these key points to make a truly informed decision.
Accredited universities have been recognized by official local, state, and national agencies as providing a high-quality education Accreditation is a rigorous process that higher education institutions must go through in order to certify that their curriculum is up to par with regional and national standards.
You never bought a phone for yourself that was the right fit for your friend, right? Choosing a university is no different. No matter its national or international ranking, a business management university will do you no good if you plan to pursue accountancy or engineering. Always go through the university’s courses and degrees in detail to know what is up on offer. If you are pursuing a BBA or BSc course that many offer these days, don’t just get satisfied upfront. Delve into the details to know if a specialisation or a special field of study you want to engage in is being offered. The more the insight, more will be your chances to make a fruitful decision.
The applicants versus intake rate of a university is not only a good indicator of how good its courses are, but also the effort it takes to get admitted there. Do ask the admission offices about past intakes and merit criterion and gauge your own chances of getting a place in one of its courses. Besides the personal assessment, the query will also give you an idea of the competition for admissions and subsequently, the university’s repute and quality of education.
Getting into a university is the easy part, it’s the graduating that requires toil and effort. In order to be prepared for the educational hardships ahead, you must consider the rate of graduation from the university. It’s an indicator as to how tough it is to actually make it through the tough coursework at the university and if you will be able to cope with the pressure. A race driver adjusts the tyre pressure of his car in accordance with the surface ahead. It’s always better to know the odds and be prepared in advance.
Students and parents are sometimes so desperate to get admission to a particular university that they forget a key consideration: location. The university’s whereabouts matter whether you plan to commute daily to the institute or plan on living in a hostel. Commuting to and from the university in rush hours and congested roads will entail a beating to senses and patience, so be very sure of what you are getting yourself into. If you plan to live in a hostel – university or private – there is still cause for concern. Find out if the university hostel is in an area that is accessible by public transport, is safe and offers a clean mess etc. The same goes for private facilities. Do check out the areas these hostels are situated in, hygiene of rooms, support staff and nearby facilities. See if the environment is suited to studies and if the area and the management have a decent repute. Food will be major a need, so make sure you do not have to walk for miles to access the nearest eatery. Shops in the surroundings that stock items of routine use will also be plus.
In a country like Pakistan, many students have to strike a delicate balance between studies, family responsibilities and even work. Therefore, a university where timings are flexible can be a great place to manage personal chores and studies all at the same time. Find out if the university offers evening, afternoon or weekend sessions or even online tutorials in accordance with your needs and work out if it will do you any good.
A university might be great at offering high quality education, but it will do you little good if the seat of learning did not back it up with opportunities to put the knowledge into practice. Research if the university offers internships, teaching assistance opportunities, library work, laboratory assignments etc to augment curricular learning of students. Also try finding out if the placement office at the institution is active as it should be and helps students with finding avenues for practical learning.
Continuing on the same note, a university that performs poorly in helping its students get placed at decent jobs is lagging far behind the competition. A fully functional and encouraging career services office is key to ensuring that students get the attention and opportunities from noted employers. Check out if the university office has the arrangements for job counselling, training students for job interviews, mock interview sessions, on-campus employment drives and other networking skills to give maximum space and push to its students in the job market.
Extra- and Co-curricular Activities
Well, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy… and Jill a dull girl. As you will be spending a good part of your day in the university for a good four years at least, it is essential that campus life includes avenues other than that for education. Sports, social and recreational activities, student bodies and committees and activity clubs etc are crucial to keeping students’ mind and body active and far from being bogged down by the educational grind. Participation in extracurricular and co-curricular activities also grants students the chance to develop other crucial skills like social interaction, leadership, teamwork, problem solving and crisis management; traits that you will be needing every day in practical life.
Costs and Financial Aid
University education is a major investment you or your parents make, and a major consideration for almost every applicant. So, it’s naturally wise to have your research ready before you apply. It will always be wise to find out if the university’s fees are augmented by hidden charges or if the administration has a habit of jacking up fees each semester. Inquire what cost utilising activities like university transport, hostels, cafeteria, participation in seminars and conferences etc. incur and whether you are suited to bear the same. You should also dig deep to know all the scholarship and financial aid opportunities, as these can be a great way to minimise cost of your education. Find out if the university offers scholarships or aid other than ones based on educational qualifications. Sports scholarships are common around the university circuit and up for grabs easily if you cut the mustard.