Choosing Your University

There are hundreds of universities that offer postgraduate courses, but how do you find your perfect match? Here are a few key points to consider whilst deciding on your postgraduate institution.
Sharlyn
Sharlyn J
Writer, postgradasia.com
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Course of interest

Captain obvious! Pick a university with the course that actually offers the course that you want to pursue. Passion and interest in your course will give you a good head-start in the game. Streamlining universities based on the availability of your course of interest will ease the elimination process. 

For this to be effective:

  1. Firstly, figure out what course you want to further delve into.
  2. Select a postgraduate institution that supports your research topic.
  3. Find out more about the supervisors in each university before you make your decision, because you would need to work on your thesis with your selected supervisor very closely.

Cost 

Think about the big picture! Does the overall cost as a postgraduate student match your financial budget? This includes your tuition fees, living expenses and other miscellaneous costs that might be incurred during your postgraduate years. You wouldn’t want to get stuck in a cycle of debt in the final league of your education.

Due diligence is really important. Do your homework – enquire and compare tuition fees from a few different universities to narrow down your options of where to study. Finance and cost is a constant variable in these situations, but proper planning will definitely ease your financial burden. Don’t be shy to ask for more information on available scholarships, loans and research grants for you to consider during your financial planning.

Credibility 

A university may gain its prestige and credibility through different types of ranking systems, some of which are based on academic reputation, the number of research publications, the fame and success of graduates and alumni and students’ satisfaction. 

Some of the more influential university rankings are the QS World University Rankings, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities. The higher the ranking, the more competitive student admissions are. If you’re aiming to enter a prestigious university, you will have to put in enough effort to match their expectations. 

You should also make sure that their certifications are recognised when you move forward in your particular industry. Look into strengths of each faculty – some universities are high flyers for certain courses, while others have established supervisors. 

Convenience

At face value, this may seem insignificant, but realistically, this is an essential aspect of the decision-making process of where to study. This includes the location of the campus, the timing of classes, amount of workload and most importantly, whether or not the course structure is compatible with your lifestyle or working schedule.

This is especially important for those with a family to care for, or those juggling a part-time or full-time job. The truth is, our life responsibilities will continue being a part of our lives, even during our postgraduate years, and all we can do is to steward our time effectively. 

Picking a university that is relatively convenient will eliminate demotivating factors and situations that might affect your focus and attention. The end goal is to ace your postgraduate studies all the way to the finish line!