Factors to Consider Before Choosing A University

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Factors to Consider before choosing a university

Factors to Consider Before Choosing A University

So many teenagers down here in Nigeria do not know this, but this is the most important decision they can make as teenagers. Funny as it sounds, decisions such as these are sometimes not even made by the teens themselves. Rather, the parents make this decision for them. This is wrong as it sometimes hinders the growth of the child’s logical abilities, especially if a wrong choice was made. A huge part of one’s life is affected either positively or negatively with respect to personal or professional life on one’s choice of college.

In reality, many prospective students do not go through a rigorous process of selecting a college or university. They probably select on common grounds such as popularity, peer influence (same school chosen by friends), blind suggestions, etc. This is not the best way to select one’s institution as the schools need to be properly scrutinized.

This does not in any way affect academic performance though but it is very important to consider a broad range of factors. These factors should include location, cost, academic quality as well as other personal factors.

Below are some important factors to consider when choosing a college. These factors make one ask the right questions when shopping around for a university of choice. As long as answers are provided with respect to the questions asked on the subject matter, it guarantees a 100% success rate.

Accreditation

This is the first factor to be considered before proceeding to investigate other related factors. So many students do not investigate this factor before selecting a university. The fact that they offer your desired course of study does not mean it has been accredited.

Accreditation simply means that the course in question has been vetted by an officially licensed organization (Nigerian universities commission, in the case of Nigeria). This is to ensure that the course has the right curriculum and meets basic academic standards for higher education.

This is an important factor because it ensures that employers of labour recognize your degree, thus giving you a fair chance to compete for available positions in the labour market. Accredited courses in a given university also avail one the option of further study in a different college or university.

Type of School

What type of education do you want? Where do my abilities lie? Will I be comfortable here and participate? These are the questions that students should ask themselves. At a younger age, they mostly do not think about these questions. When they eventually get into college, it becomes an important factor.

Fortunately or unfortunately, they may have answered wrongly or otherwise. Are you suited to the repair and assembly of parts? Do you fight for human rights? The university system in Nigeria is not highly structured at the moment and as such, these questions have got to be answered.

One who has the tendency to repair and assemble parts lean towards being an engineer as it is a technical area of expertise. The latter is more likely to be in the art department. Someone who wants to become an engineer has no business in a small school focusing on art related courses.

Knowing the type of school to attend helps one achieve getting value for money. Research related universities would help the aspiring engineer in this case due to the availability of resources suited to engineering and design. This factors along with other factors give the student a clearer picture of the type of school to attend.

Geographic Location

The first thought that comes to the mind of prospective university students back here in Nigeria is to attend one, far away from home. This is so because they feel caged when they school close to home. They feel entrapped under the watchful eyes of parents, friends, relatives etc. and as such may not have the freedom they desire.

This is not the best approach. Certain questions are meant to be asked before deciding to school at a suitable location. How does it feel living in a major city? Can I cope? Would study in a quieter city be suitable for me? How does the weather condition affect my performance? Can I cope in a cold or hot region? How about the campus, how safe is it?

In the event of a breakdown of law and order, how easily can I get home? These questions come up and should be thoroughly researched. If possible, schedule a visit to the school to confirm your research answers. A poor choice may result in an uncomfortable four years of schooling and as such, this factor should be taken seriously. 

Size of School

The size of the school should be taken into consideration when choosing a university. This would give you more insight as to the quality of education you may receive. A small school usually depicts a smaller generation of funds and as such, there may be limited facilities on campus.

On the other hand, a larger should be able to provide the students with facilities necessary for quality academics such as research facilities, student housing, health centres, computer access, sporting facilities, libraries and so much more. Larger schools also tend to invest heavily in facilities for research so as to provide up-to-date learning facilities for students, especially in science and technology faculties.

People tend to judge the size of a school by categorizing its location. If it’s in a busy location in a small town, they classify it as a big school and vice versa, not minding the available facilities therein. That is not a proper way of classifying universities.

Nevertheless, the size of the choice either being small or large has its pros and cons. Being a small school does not necessarily mean they cannot offer quality education. That is far from the truth as smaller schools offer a smaller range of courses but provide an in-depth and detailed course outline.

With smaller schools, there are fewer students in a class thereby affording the opportunity of increased individual attention from professors.

Overall Cost

Attending a good university is the priority of every prospective student. In as much as there are a lot of factors to consider, the overall cost sits at the top of the list. They say quality education does not come cheap but it is possible to also receive quality education that would not put you in debt for years.

A substantial financial investment is necessary with respect to education, but one needs to conduct research on affordable colleges or universities. The best education sometimes can be gotten from private universities of which their overall cost could be so high. Public and state universities offer large courses to select from, at an affordable cost. You may not be able to compare the quality of education but they all provide value for money.

In selecting a university, cost should be factored into the equation. Grants are offered to students in private schools most times, sometimes the grant being enough to offset session bills. For the public and state schools, scholarships are also provided to outstanding students who are funded by private establishments. When looking at the overall cost of attending a particular university, tuition just takes a small chunk of the expenses. Location of the school matters and thus influences the overall cost positively or negatively.

Attending a university in Lagos, Nigeria is more expensive than attending one in Kano state. Housing, transportation, feeding, utility bills all compliment the overall cost. When this is considered, it might just be easier to attend a public university within one’s environment which could, in turn, eliminate some of these costs.

Academic Quality

It is pertinent to seek findings on the academic qualities of a preferred university. Will I really get value and quality education in this institution? That is the sort of question one needs to ask to do justice to this important factor. Its position in this article does not limit its importance in the selection of a university.

Other factors above help to narrow down your choice but this might just be the deciding factor. Conducting this research personally avails the researcher with the information he/she never knew existed which will, in turn, go a long way in being a determining factor.

Academic quality can never be underestimated as this helps shape up your future. Paying utmost attention to it should be of the highest priority. It is advisable for prospective students to take advantage of the availability of the guidance counselling unit so as to clarify uncertain information about the choices they want to make.

Apart from the heart to heart talk these guidance counsels offer, they also avail you with text materials and resources to assist in arriving at a conclusion you so desire. Some of these resources include reviews pertaining to other universities and their courses too. There is so much information to discover when conducting research on academic quality.

Emphasis should not be placed on university rankings alone as they do not give detailed information about the university in question. Matter of fact, most of these rankings are based on web metrics using different factors.

Their views will definitely be different from yours. Scanning is not recommended. Do detailed research, visit specific departments of interest, check-out course requirements and outlines if available. All these will help in narrowing down your choices.

Faculty Rating

People may not see this as an important factor in selecting a university but it certainly is. A saying goes thus, garbage in, garbage out. A professor is not just a lecturer in a university system. They are role models as well. They train you in your career path and act as mentors.

Observing the faculty of your preferred course, in your preferred choice of a university would give you insights into their system and help you make a decision. Read about the professors in that faculty, better still, attend one of their classes if possible. This will enable you to asses them better which in turn will affect your future choices.

This may be somewhat difficult as one cannot move from school to school taking classes they may not need but it is necessary. You can schedule visits and when you eventually make them, meet these professors personally if possible. During your assessment, you may find out if your desired faculty professors are research inclined or actually available for you. Some of them delegate teaching duties to graduate students while focusing on research.

Also, look at the student-teacher ratio which can also be a basis for comparisons with respect to different universities. In smaller universities, the student-teacher ratio is high as students are few and research is minimal. The reverse is the case when compared to larger universities.

The class size is always large when a freshman but thins out as one climbs higher and focuses on major course outlines with respect to the course of study. This is really necessary when choosing a university.

Athletics and Student Life

This also is an important factor if one is to make headway in athletics. Students who aim to become professional athletes have the opportunity to make it to the big leagues through college sports. Hence in selecting a college, one needs to check out the facilities therein. Together with other factors, they just might make it. In the event they do not carry on with sports, they would have struck a good bargain with education.

Having fond memories of school days is also affected by student life. Non-Existent student life can hinder logical reasoning as the essence of attending a university is to acquire general knowledge even though one has a major. Student life may seem not an important factor but trust me when I say students need a timeout to cool off after a tiring study session.

With the available clubs and societies within the chosen university, one can develop other interests which could become a career path in future. Hence this factor should be taken seriously as all work and no play makes Jack a dull lad they say. A university with no social life does not take away its ranking among other universities but it surely enhances its status which in turn generates a positive atmosphere for effective study.

Post-Graduation Job Opportunities

This is not much of criteria when selecting a university but it should be considered. There is no point in choosing a school when the statistics say its graduates are unemployable due to some acceptable reason. It would seem like a waste of time. As such, prospective students need to conduct research with respect to this. People want to advance rapidly in their development and have high prospects of a job after graduation. Make this research.

Conclusion

Choosing a university is so much work that people do not give it enough consideration. They see it as unimportant thus resulting in the choice of any school without proper checks. There are a lot of factors to consider as listed above and these factors offer prospective students the chance of selecting the right university.

Ignoring these factors could make their school life miserable in the long run and as such feel unfulfilled with respect to their desired output. Sometimes they even drop out and pursue other interests even though education was a top priority.

Careful observation of these factors will definitely proffer solutions and results when followed. It should be seen as a step by step process which when followed can narrow down a list of about 50-100 schools down to just 5 schools. This will, in turn, leave you with less stressful options in selecting a university. In the end, you would have selected a great university which was the initial goal.

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