By the time you were in high school, you probably had an idea of a higher institution to attend. You may have thought that choosing a higher institution is one of the hardest decisions one could make. That is actually the truth. Your career life is partially determined by where you had your college or university.
Of a truth, students choose their higher institution based on sentiments or certain criteria. Sometimes, it could be just because their friend made a particular choice and they want to do the same.
In choosing a higher institution, there is a wide range of factors you must consider so as to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. Factors like location, cost, proximity, size, safety, courses offered, and so many of them must come into play. Also, there are both generic and specific factors to consider. This will help you to narrow down your choices. You need to dig beyond the surface to arrive at a choice of college or university. You need critical thinking and evaluation so as to arrive at what’s good for you.
Here are factors you need to consider when choosing a higher institution
- Know the reason you are going to a higher institution: This might sound very simple. But the reality is that not every prospective student knows his or her reason for going to a higher institution. In knowing your reason, you must understand what you want to be in the future. This is the right time to know if you are still wallowing in obscurity.
You may want to go into self-reflection as well. What kind of higher institution do you wish to attend? College or university? Large or small? Arts or technical? Far away from or close to home? Expensive or cheaper? Providing the answers to the questions will set you on a better pedestal to knowing your reason for wanting to attend a higher institution.
What if you are not ready for a higher institution? It is quite possible. You may wish to take a year off and spend it on other important areas of your life. You could use it to volunteer or travel or even learn a skill. Engaging in productive activity is very necessary here.
- Find out if the school is accredited: Accreditation is simply a license given to a school to operate. An official organization ensures that the school meets the required standards for learning.
It is also crucial to find out if your choice of course is also accredited. Want to know how? Go to the official website of the school and find out all you need to. There is also an email or phone number provided on the website, you could call or message them for more information.
The reason for accreditation is for your certificate to be recognized by your potential employer and other schools, in case you would wish to go for your masters or any other programme.
- Discover what type of education you want: Your type of education is determined by certain factors like your interests, abilities, area of concentration in high school, whether arts or technical subjects like math and science and others. Knowing this will help you to determine which school has what you need. For example, an engineering student does not have a business with an arts college. He is expected to go for a big school that has a variety of courses to choose from.
- Find out if the institution fits you: Your focus should be in finding if the institution fits you, rather than trying to fit yourself into the insitution. What are the primary attributes the institution seeks out for? Do they they fit your ideal priority? To find out, check the advertised educational philosophy of the school, their graduation rates, ratio of student to professor, average size of the class, opportunities both inside and outside the classroom, average financial aids received by students, the rate of placement of recent graduates, uniqueness of the school in terms of facilities, student support programmes, equipment, among others. When you discover this, finding the right fit institution may not be difficult.
- Your happiness is non-negotiable: You must ask yourself this critical question: will I be happy? You have four years to spend in thisinstitution, if your happiness is not guaranteed, it means you are likely to spend four miserable years in the school. Will you be able to study effortlessly in an unfavourable environment?
- Take a hard look at your department: You might be cool with your university, what about your department? It has been discovered by studies that the student’s retention rate affects his or her connections on the campus. This, in turn, is influenced by the department. An institution may have a great reputation, but it is the department that determines what degree you will earn from. Try to do some research on the faculties and reputation in your field of study. The reputation of the faculty or department may be of concern to your employer than the quality of the school. In addition, ensure the quality of the programme you are applying for rings bell in the job market.
- Size of school: You probably have an idea of the size of the school you wish to attend. This is very important as the size could tell a lot about the school. Big institutions usually have more facilities for both curricular and extra-curricular activities. They also provide more academic options.
- The location of the school: Some students would love to walk down or enter a taxi to school from their home, while others may see gaining admission as an avenue to leave home. Whatever the case, the choice is yours.
To narrow it down, you might wish to live in a big city or a small town. You should also consider the weather at the location. What about the environment? Do you like a quiet place or somewhere that is buzzing with activities? What about the culture of the people? Think of your safety too. Is the place crime-prone or very safe for your life? Crime happens, you know? Don’t be a victim of one.
The location could have a great effect on your life when it comes to the overall experience. No matter how much you love your school or course of studies, if you hate the environment, you may not derive the best experience from your higher institution.
- Cost factor: This is as important as choosing your choice school. No matter how you narrow your decisions, the cost will always trump them all. Going to school requires financial commitment; though the amount varies according to schools
Private institutions are more expensive than public institutions. But the good news is that private institutions offer more financing and scholarship options. You could be lucky to have your tuition taken care of.
Other cost-related factors to consider include the cost of housing, food, books, transportation, health, insurance, and more. Additionally, schools located in big cities might require that you spend double your expectations, especially in terms of rent. International schools also cost more in terms of fees and the cost of living. If the money happens to pose an obstacle, you may consider a school very close to your home with cheaper fees and expenses.
- Food: It is important. If you are moving to somewhere far from home, it’s necessary to consider what kind of food they eat there. What food is available and where they cook it needs adequate consideration. Check your pocket to know what kind of food it can afford as well. The more budget-friendly option could be what to go for.
- Life outside the classroom: You need to understand your personality outside the lecture hall. What defines you? What are you interested in doing? Remember to create a longer-lasting memory with your experiences outside your classroom. And so, you need to find out the kind of extra-curricular activities that are available on the campus. In addition, you need to discover if the environment is friendly to your faith. If your faith is not celebrated there, that means you might find it difficult to worship God in the environment.
- You need to find your way around the environment: Getting around town for food, shopping, meeting friends, and so on means that you need to understand where each route leads to. Finding out the strategic places in the environment and how to locate them is important. Google Maps could be your best companion in this regard.
- The success of your career: The university, above every other factor, must put the success of its students into consideration. You must learn how to translate your academic life to a career plan. Find out how the university can help to brush you up through their various courses and programs. So, your chosen course must reflect what you plan to be after school. Yes, plans change in life, but your initial career plan must be put into focus here.
- Your personal experience: It is possible that you are going to be bundled to a school you may not have ordinarily chosen. This is determined by your parents, as well as financial factors and even the brand name of the school. It can be challenging not to succumb to the influence of these factors, but it will be great if you can overcome them. You should feel good about the curricular and extracurricular activities, overall gradability of the school should also get you excited.
- Ensure you have weighed your pros and cons: It will be quite disastrous if you are yet to confront the intellectual challenge of your choice of course. This is why you must know yourself well and determine your interests. For instance, a story was told of a medical student who fainted at the sight of blood. Another thought-provoking factor is to consider your exam scores relating to the course you are vying for. If they are poor, chances are that you might perform poorly in your academic pursuit regarding that course.
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What to do While Awaiting Admission
One of the most miserable moments in one’s life is when your eyes are always glued to the door, looking out for the mailman who is bringing your admission letter. Anxiety is built as the days elongate without a letter of reply from the school. Until the mailman comes carrying your admission letter, here’s what you should do.
- Find out if your application letter was even received by the school. There should be a confirmatory email in this regard. It should come within a day or two. When you get that, ensure that all your entries on the application form are correct. If they are not, don’t hesitate to call the admission office.
- Check the status of your application. You could do that through the school’s undergraduate admission office website. If you received confirmation concerning your application status, it must come with a login and password which you can see each stage of your admission process.
- Do not become an application status stalker. It is easy to become one as you count down on the days. Use the time to become productive. You can visit the campus and run your underground check on the school. Your findings might help you to make better decisions.
- Call the admission office. If your admission letter is delaying, call the admission office to be double sure. If you are wait-listed, you will know. If there is no chance for you again you will also know.
In conclusion, going to a higher institution is one of the dreams of every high school student. However, there are so many points to put into play while applying for your admission. Make sure you go through the above-listed points to get a well-informed decision on what to do.