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Resolving the second dilemma - Selecting the right College!

Having looked at how to make a wise decision in selecting the country for your higher studies, let's deal with the next hurdle of choosing the right college.
By right college, I mean it should not only be aligned with your goal but should also help you achieve that. Following your dreams and passion can lead you the right way, but selecting the platform to support them can be quite overwhelming. In this case, the platform is the college we choose to attend. A right choice here can have a deep impact on the direction your career takes. A lot of factors like career prospects, academic rigor, lifestyle, and culture, alongside external validation like University Rankings, go into making this choice making it a daunting one.

Before you make the decision, ask yourself these questions -
  • What is the global ranking of this University / College? How does this University / College rank with regards to the course I chose?
  • What is the Course Structure at this University / College? What is the kind of research that happens in this University / College - specific to the courses I choose?
  • Will this University / College help build my career? In which ways? Do they offer help in internships or final career placements?
  • How far does this University / College support international students?
  • Will I have a great student experience here?
  • Have any of my seniors/peers graduated from this College/University?
Now, let's look at how the answers to these questions help you in choosing the right University / College.

This is the first step in choosing the right college for you. It is important to know that this college is known for the course that you are planning to pursue. Research about the universities that offer courses you wish to pursue. You can visit their official websites to know more about the Course Structure, Subjects, Resources & Infrastructure, Academic Requirements (projects, paper/thesis) etc. to understand if the course suits your list of priorities. You can also e-mail a few professors in the department to get a clearer picture though you might not always get a response. Pay due attention to the Research that happens in the said department of the University and the kind of projects they work on - make sure that they are aligned with your areas of interest. Do check out the eligibility criteria for the course, duration of the course and the degree/diploma that you would receive after successful completion of the course.

Global University / Course Rankings:
We have looked into the importance of this factor last week while choosing the country. After you zero down on a country, choose the best university rankings for the specific course you selected. This helps you in choosing what is best for your goal. Don't just go with the overall university rankings but look into the course level rankings too. Sometimes, a not-so-great university could excel in the course you chose because of the presence of expert faculty members or particular facilities.

Support in building your career:
When you go to a college, your goal is to build a career. That is the prime motto that led you to travel the world. It would all be in vain if you travel halfway around the globe only to realize that the course does not offer what you need. While it might vary from student to student, the course should provide a strong theoretical foundation with opportunities for practical exposure. Employers are always on the lookout for students with practical experience. Academics are number one requirement closely followed by the practical experience - projects, internships, and other such opportunities. A college can be the platform that offers you this experience by offering you an opportunity to intern or to avail placement services or even allow you to study in yet another country for a semester.

Also, good institutes never stand still. They're always looking to innovate and change the way they deliver content and approach new research challenges. In a world where innovation is accelerating like never before, you'll be well-placed if you go to a college that will equip you with the skills that can make you flexible and adaptive in the future workplace.

Another criterion for a good college is its industry connections. Though most of you take up a course with a strong passion for that area, it is also important to look at the next step - work experience and getting connected with the industry at large. Look for those colleges which display a strong connection with the industry. These may be in several forms, from industry-sponsored career development to funding from the industry to school research projects. A well-connected college indicates that it's in touch with real-time developments and is equipped with practical industry knowledge. It also increases the credibility of the college among the employers as from where the best quality graduates come. This helps you in your placements.

Acceptability of International students:
Go through the requirements and eligibility criteria of the college. This section gives you information on the basic requirements and documents needed to apply for the course. Students are most likely to be required to apply for English proficiency tests like IELTS and TOEFL as well as aptitude tests like GRE, GMAT or SAT. Make sure you are aware of the eligibility criteria before to avoid disappointment later. Also, look for the services that are offered to the international students of the college. Check whether they have a special scholarship for international students. If you can find many international students at a university that shows it's a better place for you to go in.

Student Experience and Campus Perks:
Going to college in a foreign country can change your lifestyle. Your first opportunity to blend in that country's culture is college itself. Learn about the programs that the college has for international students to interact with others. Also, be aware of the other college facilities. Every college abroad has extra-curricular activities that are organized for a student's benefit. Check for a college which encourages participation in sports, voluntary work, music bands and activities that are usually outside the realm of the college education. Involving in one these activities helps you to build your personality and communication skills and also get the opportunity to work with a diverse student body comprising students from different cultures.

Seniors or peers graduated from the same university
This is a very tricky question. Initially you need to look at the goals which your seniors have targeted and check whether you're targeting similar goals as well. If yes, go ahead and make the decision. If not its better you ask yourself the question one again and make the choice. Taking feedback from seniors is important but alignment of the college with the pathway of your goals is much important.

The more the questions in the list above that a College answers yes, the better fit the college is for you!

All the best! Fight on!
Published date : 15 Dec 2018 03:12PM

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