The Iglu Guide | Blog

Which Uni is right for me? Where to begin and what to look for

Deciding where to study for higher education is an important life decision. There are many considerations to take into account and it can feel confusing or daunting just getting started. You might be wondering what course you should choose, where to study, and even which country to study in. How will you know if it’s the right University for you? Ultimately it’s a very individual decision but here are some key areas to help guide your thinking.

Rankings explained

Everyone talks about University rankings, but how important are they – and what do they even mean? Rankings take into account the overall University performance against core objectives such as teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. It’s a competitive environment and often hotly contested. Six Australian Universities feature in the world’s top 100 rankings, with the University of Melbourne topping that list. ANU comes next followed by the University of Sydney, the University of Queensland, UNSW and Monash University. So in terms of just rankings alone Australia has much to offer, but using that system alone would be much too simple. Rankings are really just the beginning.

Examine the course content

Have a really good look around and see what is on offer for your particular course. You’re going to be spending a lot of time doing it, and it’s a huge part of your student experience so it should be a deciding factor in your final choice. Use University rankings as a guide, but don’t let them be the only factor in your decision. Many good Universities fall outside the top rankings and each has strengths in different areas. Have a read through the course modules, compare them and think about what you would most enjoy. Will the course outline help you further your career aspirations? Can you combine different subject choices in your course? How flexible are the departments? Are you exposed to work placements or industry opportunities? Look beyond the first year’s offering so that you can view the entire course as a whole.

Will it work for me?

No one University excels in all areas so it’s really important to find the right institution where you will best flourish. Rankings will certainly provide a good indicator and can form a basis for your search, but by researching each individual university website you can understand how they actually perform in your favoured course of study. Question the location, the facilities, the opportunities, possible internships and likely employment opportunities. If a place excels in your choice of course, this probably means they will have better opportunities, teaching and facilities in that area – which may then lead on to greater employment opportunities.

What else do I need to think about?

As you’ll spend a considerable amount of time at your University of choice, you should think about the community offering and how that works for you. Do you prefer a campus-feel to University life? Do you mind if it is spread over multiple locations? Where is your campus situated and does that suit how you want to spend your University years? Researching can give you a good insight into the ambience and feel of each place. One place might feel more relaxed, another more diverse, whilst another again might have more energy and pace.  Check out the student clubs and activities on offer and see if there is much to keep you interested and actively involved. If you can’t visit in person, use the internet to gather as much information as you can in advance before making that final choice.

The final decision

All of the above are simply indicators alone and any final decisions should factor in your individual needs. Your course choice will dictate how you narrow the search down, but you should also consider how you like to live and spend your time. How does the location suit your needs? How easily can you explore the area? If you plan on working during your term time, consider the opportunities that might support that.

If you’re an international student considering studying in Australia… Check out why it’s such a great choice for students!

Photo by Gia Oris on Unsplash

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