Over the years, the United States has drawn millions of students from across the globe to its incredible educational institutions. Part of the reason for this is that America offers so many great choices, and some of the most impressive facilities in the world – with over 4,000 options to choose from. However, the fact that there are so many varied choices might leave students confused – as figuring out which course to attend is no easy feat.
When it comes to choosing the right university for your needs, you’re going to have to determine your priorities, and think carefully about what you want to achieve. This means not only identifying your passions and which course structures will best suit your learning style, but also considering the geographical location of each available facility, and which of your potential options have the best reviews.
Hyde students take a college assessment survey, which asks about preferences relating to aspects such as size school they would prefer, location, and majors. Hyde college counselors then take the results of the survey and combine with the student’s grades to offer them a list of the schools they think would be the best fit.
This list is a great starting point for each student, but they also do their own research, and make sure to attend college fairs and go on college visits to narrow down a list of top schools to which they will ultimately apply.
Following, we’ll address some of the things every student needs to know about choosing a university, to help simplify this important decision.
1. IDENTIFYING YOUR PASSIONS IS CRUCIAL
First things first, it’s important to start thinking about your options well in advance. Leaving your university selection to the last minute will just ensure that your options are limited, and you could find that you don’t even get accepted for the courses that you want. (If you are a Hyde student, we will help you make sure this does not happen!)
When you’re planning out which campuses and courses you might want to look at, don’t underestimate the power of your intuition. Even though your choice of university should be based somewhat on rational analysis, it’s worth remembering that you’re going to spend the next three to six years of your life studying one subject – so you need to make sure you’re devoted to that subject.
Since the purpose of going to college is often to build a career in your chosen field of study – remember to focus on something that you’re passionate about, then fill the rest of the details in around that fact.
You need to be honest here, and ask yourself if you can really see yourself becoming a professional in the topic you’ve chosen – if the answer is yes, then you’re already on your way.
2. LOOK AT COLLEGES THAT SUPPORT YOUR FAVORITE SUBJECT
Now that you’ve figured out exactly what you want to study, you’ll need to start searching properly. Subject-specific rankings, and university rankings can help you find opportunities that match your interests in this area, and you should also bear in mind that some schools are tougher to gain access to than others.
Make a list of the institutions that you might be interested in, then research each one as thoroughly as you can – visiting university websites for more information, insights into course prospectuses, and even looking at student forums for “inside” advice. You might even be able to track down a few Facebook groups that will help you to communicate with some of the students already attending your prospective universities.
3. DECIDE WHERE YOU WANT TO STUDY
When you’re searching through your available options, looking for universities that meet your specific passions and offer great curriculums in your chosen subjects – you might learn that the best opportunities aren’t actually located on your doorstep. In other words, you might start thinking about the concept of moving away to study. There’s nothing wrong with this idea – as plenty of young adults find themselves looking further afield to find the education that they want.
For example, Hyde School employees Davyd and Jenny Collinson found that they could get their masters degrees in one intensive year by studying abroad in England, and it would work out to be less expensive than doing longer programs in the states. And an unforgettable adventure!
When you’re checking out potential campuses, think carefully about how far away from home you’re comfortable being, and how much it’s going to cost you to set up a life in a new place, without the help of your parents in some cases. Look at the student accommodations that are offered by your short list of universities too, as it can be a good idea to make sure that you’re going to be able to live comfortably during your student years.
4. LOOK AT THE COURSE CONTENT
You may be surprised how many students end up feeling disappointed by their choice of university – simply because they failed to check the course syllabus before they applied.
Even if you love the idea of the university overall, you might have a particular interest in a certain area of your subject, and you’ll need to make sure that this is covered within the curriculum available.
If you can’t find out much about the course from simply looking at the website – you can always try contacting the college directly. Most of the time, the people at these institutions will be all too happy to help aspiring students find the course that’s most suited to their needs.
Remember, the more interesting you find a course, the more likely you are to come out at the end with good grades.
5. THINK ABOUT HOW YOU LIKE TO LEARN
If you’re the sort of person who hates exams and prefers having their education tested through year-long coursework – or you’re the exact opposite, it’s a good idea to find out how your chosen college operates. Remember that how well you do on your university course, and how much you enjoy your time as a student, will depend on your learning style, and whether the school you choose matches up to what works best for you.
For people who aren’t very academic, it’s generally a good idea to find universities and courses that are less theory-based, and more practical. If you’re not sure, you could always try talking to one of the course lecturers, or phoning the university to ask some questions.
6. FOCUS ON FINDING OUT AS MUCH AS YOU CAN
Knowledge is power, and it’s important to have as much of it as possible if you want to make a careful, and informed decision about your academic future. If you feel as though you’re not getting a good enough feel of the different colleges available to you simply by checking online – you can always visit the institutions in person, or attend fairs that are designed specifically to offer guidance to students who are unsure about where they’re going to continue their education.
Visiting a campus in person should help you to connect directly with college students and representatives, so that you can get a better understanding of how you’re going to fit into campus life.
CHOOSING THE IDEAL UNIVERSITY
Choosing the right university isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Where you choose to get your education, and which course you select could help to outline your future in terms of which careers you can get, and which opportunities will present themselves to you.
Take your time, and think carefully about each of your priorities in turn, before picking somewhere that meets all of your needs.