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How to Find the Right University for Your Bachelor’s Degree Abroad
Decisions, decisions… deciding for the right university for you, especially if you want to study abroad is an important, sometimes tricky, and tough mission. Nevertheless, you are the only person who can make this decision, regardless of how many people would come to give you all kind of advice.
Don’t know where to start? Consider the next major factors:
1) Choose a subject… preferably one you’re passionate about
First, figure out what you would like to study. While for some of you this is an obvious answer, for many, this still remains an important question. You can think of what subjects you were usually good at during school and you may find your answer. If you are completely clueless, pick a degree course that is at least related to some of your passions or interests. Here’s one example: ‘I’m fascinated by TV shows and celebrities but there’s no Bachelor degree on this subject right?’ Well, how about media and journalism?
2) Check out which are the best universities out there
Top university rankings like World University Ranking, Shanghai Ranking, QS Ranking or US News Ranking, are the most popular in the world, releasing lists with the best universities worldwide based on various criteria (prestige of the university and teaching staff, research works published, academic performance, employment rate after graduation, etc.). These are important rankings and you should definitely have a look on them. However, many students make this mistake of only considering rankings when deciding for a university.
Rankings are about “the best universities”, but treat them as a rough guide, just to get an idea. You should also make sure to check the ranking for your specific field of studies. A university in the top of the overall ranking might have a lower level in the particular field you are interested in.
If you want to focus on research during your Bachelor studies, the recommendation is to check the research facilities, projects and research partnerships of the university.
3) Pick a location where you know you’d adjust easily
Location is everything, right? Maybe not EVERYTHING, but it is certainly an important factor that you should give a very serious thought to. In terms of location, you need to take many things into consideration. Ask yourself:
- Is the university closer of farther from home?
- Will you be living in a big or small city?
- Is it always sunny or mostly rainy?
- Is the country’s culture similar to yours or totally different?
All these questions and more are all connected to the place you choose to study, where the university is located.
So before you say ‘Hooray! I just found the perfect university or college, you need to look into a little further and see if it not only suits your study plans but also your personality. You may think that’s not really important but think again. Many international students didn’t succeed to adjust that well to a place where half of year is winter, for example. Some internationals found it difficult when they decided to move from Europe to Asia for around three years and only saw their family once or twice during this time. Even though everything ended well eventually and they learned something from this experience, many of them would probably reconsider the location of their studies abroad if they had to choose all over again. So make sure you know everything there is to know about THE place where you will call home for at least one year.
4) Don’t forget about your social life
The campus is still part of the university, but it’s important in terms of leisure and social activities. If you will be in a big city, you can find entertainment everywhere, but in a medium-to-small city, it may not be that easy to engage in a social life. If you’re interested in being an active member of the university community, easily make friends among your peers and participate in student organisations and events, then you need to research what exactly is the atmosphere like in the campus of your university. Ideally, you can see that live, if you get the chance to attend an ‘open door day’ at the university, but you can also figure it out with a simple internet search and by seeing what people who went to that university say about their experience.
5) Estimate the total costs of your studies
You may have one university in mind but after your research found out it charges high tuition fees that you or your family can’t afford. You’re not the only one. There is always the scholarship or grants possibility, check out ScholarshipPortal.
However, you have to be sure you actually have a chance to get a scholarship or can repay the grant. If not, you will have to reconsider your options. Luckily, in countries like Denmark, Finland, Norway and others, public universities charge no tuition, but you have to fit with the academic qualifications and requirements. In addition, living costs and even tuition in universities from central and eastern Europe are some of the lowest and feature interesting and a wide palette of study options.
When it comes to money and finance, you have to be convinced that you can bear all the costs when you decide on the university you want to go to.
You can always get a part-time job, but that will probably not be an option from the very beginning of the academic year and you never know exactly how much you will earn. Most student jobs mainly cover pocket money, rarely the university tuition.
6) Get credible information and read student testimonials
What better inside information can you get than by actually talking to students who went at the same university you want to go to or reading their testimonials? Although students’ opinions are subjective and it doesn’t mean that your experience will be identical to theirs, you can find some details about the university that you’re interested in and may not have found that information anywhere else.
As you can see, there are a few things you need to consider before your final verdict. You may have other criteria besides the ones above that you consider important when you make this important decision of choosing a university. So put them all on a sheet of paper, check the advantages and the disadvantages and you will get your answer.