How to Choose the Right University for You
At this time of year, all eyes are on mailboxes as post-secondary applicants await word from their chosen schools. It’s an exciting time for high school students eager to see where they’re headed next.
Choosing between universities can be a tricky undertaking. Canadian universities like the University of Toronto, McGill University and the University of British Columbia have some of the highest rankings in the world. However, many nearby institutions are climbing higher up the list year after year. So, given the relative strength of so many Canadian schools nowadays, which one is right for you, and how can you be sure of your decision? With so many good options on hand, sifting through all those websites and pamphlets may leave you wanting a bit of everything.
The right university may not necessarily be the one the majority of your friends go to, or the one with the most aesthetically appealing campus. Those may be important to you, however there are many other factors that, when added together, can have a huge impact on your post-secondary experience.
There are certain criteria that may or may not fit the portrait of your ideal university choice. Whether that has to do with the institution’s offerings, the campus details or the university’s student body, it’s crucial to consider the following factors in the process:
- Type of Program
Every institution offers different academic titles, ranging from undergraduate degrees, to diplomas to certificates. These vary between universities, colleges, and trade schools. Each one may be worth exploring, as jumping from high school right into university isn’t the only option anymore. Depending on where you want your post-secondary school experience to take you, it’s worth at least considering the many options out there.
- Co-op Experiences
Many institutions offer co-op experiences in a large amount of their programs. However, many schools don’t consider co-op to be a major part of their overall training. Deciding whether the option is right for you should influence your decision to choose a particular program, discipline, or school.
- Student Population Size
There are pros and cons to a large or small student body size. Large student populations are great because you have better connections with a wider variety of people. However, it’s easy to be seen as “just a number” when you’re in a class of 500+ people. On the other hand, while smaller student populations will not allow you to get lost in the crowd and may have a more communal feel, they might make you feel a bit isolated, so be sure you know what you’re comfortable with.
- Location Related to Living On/Off Campus
Living on campus is a part of feeling independent and tasting freedom away from home for the first time. However, expenses can begin to add up and suddenly being away from your parents doesn’t seem to have as many perks as it once did. There may also be cost-of-living expenses that may end up rivaling your tuition costs. However, immersing yourself into student life on campus is much easier when you don’t have to leave school directly after classes.
- Campus Size
While a large campus may mirror the “college” experience you see on TV, getting lost in the confusion may only add to your worries. A smaller campus does feel safer and more at home, but perhaps a big campus may break you out of your shell a bit.
Choosing the right school can be very important in determining your future path. It may seem daunting at first, but you’ll find a little research will be well worth it.