When I first started choosing a university, I wish I had found a list out there that had said ‘ways to decide which university is right for you’. It’s one of the most daunting tasks you’ll ever face. You’ll have your friends, family, guidance counselors, teachers, and everyone who has their own ideas about where you should go to further your education, but at 17, it’s a hard thing to decide! So here’s my list of 7 ways to decide which university is right for you.
1. Research, Research, Research
First and foremost, one of the best and most important ways to decide which university is right for you is by doing research. I had booklets, websites open, I went through magazines that ranked all the universities within Canada, and I just dove into it. You need to figure out what you want to major in, but if you’re one of the lucky few who have your heart set on a certain school, you have to make sure that you have the marks to measure up. Each university specializes in something, be it the arts, computer science, business, engineering, whatever you’re looking for. You need to do your research and find out which ones strike a chord with you, from there, you can narrow it down.
2. Figure out What’s Important to You
Everyone has something different in mind when searching for a school. It could be the location, if it has a reputable program; if your friends of loved ones are going there - there’s something different for everyone. One of the best ways to decide which university is right for you is by figuring out what is the most important. If what you want is to go to the country’s best program in business, then let that factor guide our decision. If you want to be close to home, figure out which options are best for you. Once you have your list of priorities, you’ll be able to decide much easier!
3. The ‘No Regrets’ Factor
For me, this was the biggest deciding factor for me. One of the best ways to decide which university is right for you really comes from your gut and your heart. I actually already accepted the invitation from one university, put in a deposit for residence, and at the last minute decided to withdraw and choose another university. To me, that was one of the biggest lessons I learned about not having any regrets. Because you don’t want to go to a school and seriously think to yourself later on after a few years - what if I had gone elsewhere? You need to be 100% happy with your decision, because I know people that have switched schools because they knew the one they picked (be it their own decision, that of family or friends) just wasn’t the one from them. It’s a lot hard to leave once you’re there, so go with your gut!
4. Visit the Campuses
I was lucky; my dad gamely took me out to visit almost all the campuses that I had applied to. And we went to the open houses, the tours, the whole nine yards. I loved it, because it gave me a real sense of what it was like to be on that campus. You have to be happy where you are, because you’ll be there for the next 4 or 5 years of your life, and it shapes you in to the person that you are. In many ways, it becomes your second home. You have to feel right when you’re there, and you have to feel like you can see yourself there. This is one of the best ways to decide which university is right for you. So if you’re able to, go ahead and visit the campuses you applied to. It could look great on paper but not in reality, and vice versa, so go take a look!
5. Talk It out
I talked, and talked, and talked, and talked about it. My guidance counselor and my parents were probably so sick and tired of me being so indecisive and talking about where I was going to go! But that’s what they’re there for, and one of the best, and most calming ways to decide which university is right for you is simply by talking about it; especially with people who’ve been down that path before. They’ll have their own knowledge and words of wisdom that could help you with your final decision!
6. Money, Money, Money
Post secondary education is expense. Unless we move to one of the countries in Europe where they pay for you to go to school, money is going to be a big factor in deciding which university is right for you. There are lots of schools out there that give scholarships, bursaries, and grants; you just need to make sure that you are well aware of them beforehand so you can apply to them! Schools for the most part want to help you, because they know it can be pricey. So look around, do some research, and figure out which option is financially best for you.
7. Don’t Worry Too Much
Lastly, my best advice for how to decide which university is right for you is simply don't worry too much. It’s a long ride, and while choosing a university is one of the most important decisions in your life, remember that no matter what, you will end up exactly where you’re supposed to be. It’s not the be all and end all, but it will be one of the first grown up decisions you make that will start shaping your life!
So there you have it! Hopefully I was able to help shed some light on how to help you make your decision on where to go after you graduate high school. It’s a fun process, so enjoy it while it lasts. Tell me, what are some of the ways you ended up deciding which university was right for you?