Choosing the right foreign university

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So you’re all determined that you’re going abroad for higher studies now but have you picked the right university yet? With hundreds of educational institutions to choose from, picking the right one may seem like a monumental task when you first begin your search.

The best way to start your search is by making a shortlist of all the institutions that you might want to consider. Then you can start narrowing down the list of potential institutions by weighing up each institution according to certain factors that are important to you. Here’s a list of some key considerations that will help you find the right fit.

Field of study:

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What would you like to study? What are you passionate about? It’s important that you pick the field of study at first. Remember that it has to be something you want to study and pursue in your career life. It’s alright; it doesn’t have to be a specific decision right away as you can find various courses under your favorite subject. For instance, if you like Science, with a bit of research, you can find a wide range of subjects that universities around the world are offering like Astrophysics, Biophysics, Biochemistry etc. Once you pick out your favorites, you can simply find out which universities are offering the courses you listed down.

“I started by picking my preferred courses first and it made my life easier!”

Said Ishrat, a first-year Biotechnology student at the Technical University of Munich, Germany.


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Now, that you know what you want to study, and you have a list of the hundreds of universities offering the courses, it’s time to filter out the ones situated in the locations that fit your criteria. Yes, you do need to set your criteria for the location in order to narrow down the list of the universities. We often think that we can adjust once we get somewhere but it’s not entirely true if you’re going for studies.

“There will be so much going on already, like dealing with the never-ending nerve-racking paperwork, the new lifestyle and you need to make friends too! What if you can’t tolerate the weather and get sick?”

Noshin, a Computer Science student at Texas University, Arlington told us

So, if the location does not play well for you, you will be in trouble.

You can pick your desired locations on the basis of factors like climates, cost of living, lifestyle etc. For instance, in the U.S., the Southern region is known for its humid summers and mild winters with a low cost of living whereas the Western region is known for its geographically diverse area, it’s very mild and damp climates to very hot ones and the slightly higher cost of living than the Southern area and so on. Once you pick the zone for you, you can then choose among Urban, Suburban and Rural settings that differ in population, accessibility, environment and cost of living.

Tuition fees and scholarships:

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Now, that you have the list of universities located in your preferred settings, it’s time to sort out the ones that match your budget and need. Don’t get overwhelmed with the numbers because universities around the world provide a number of scholarships to international students like you. Scholarships can vary; they could be based on your previous academic scores, test scores, achievements in extracurricular activities & sports, leadership activities etc. So, don’t forget to list down your achievements; you never know how something you did for fun could help you embark on a life-changing journey towards a future you always dreamed of.

“I remember how the really high tuition fees made me think I could never afford it, but I still pushed myself and with just a bit more research, I found out I was already eligible for a scholarship because of my test scores!”

Mou, a Human Resource Management student at Monash University, Malaysia told us

So, it is essential to check the university websites and make the most out of the information provided. If needed, you can also contact the representatives from the admission offices of the universities. They will be more than happy to help you out.

University ranking:

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Pick the universities that have a better ranking because they are there for a reason”

Said Dyuti, a Computer Science student at Auckland University, New Zealand.

Better universities not only have better facilities, on-campus part-time jobs, and assistantships that match you, they also have a better environment and will add more value to your career.

If you think you are an extraordinary applicant and your previous achievements can really light up your college application, these criteria should be the first one to consider for you. Although top-ranked universities might charge higher tuition fees, yet they give away a huge amount of scholarships every year to talented and charismatic students.

Other things to consider:

Choosing the right foreign university

Other than the basic criteria, there are things you cannot possibly avoid like the type of on-campus living facilities, diversity of the students attaining degrees from the universities, on-campus job facilities etc. The importance of these factors depends on your preference and way of living. All these information are usually available at the university or college websites. However, if not, you will always find the contact information of the college representative who is there to answer your queries anytime.

Finding the right fit for you can be really nerve-racking and time-consuming but you need to trust yourself and make the most of the time spent on the research with a clear direction.

Talk to people who have been there and learn from their mistakes. Remember to always keep your research game strong to stay updated.

Good luck!

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