You’re finally done with high-school! Or you’re probably still in high-school applying for universities. In either case, you’re probably thinking about what to do next. All these universities offer such great programs, it’s kind of confusing to figure out what you could study, and what you’d enjoy best. How do you make a decision on what degree to opt for and what course to study?

If you’re still unsure and running out of time, maybe take a gap year? A gap year would provide you with enough time to clarify the different questions and doubts you have about your future, and allow you to thoroughly research every potential path you could choose.

If you want to apply now, and are just confused about what course to pick from the millions, ask yourself some basic questions:

–   What subjects did you enjoy in high-school? You could probably explore this subject more in university, since most offer various degrees related to a single subject

–   What topics or parts of the subject did you enjoy in high-school? Maybe you liked a specific chapter or portion of a certain subject, and would like to study more about that part of the curriculum.

–   What career do you want to go into in the future? Thinking more career-oriented could help you narrow down your choices, since you’d understand better what courses you need to study to go into that field.

–   What are your strengths and goals? Understanding this part of yourself when you’re researching about different degrees would help you figure out what types of programs would you better adapt to and be better at learning. It would help you understand what exactly you want to achieve and so your decision for your degree and course would lean more on how you can achieve your goals.

–   How do you want to study and how long do you want to study? Asking yourself this could provide a clearer perspective on the type of degree you could opt for. If you want to study for a shorter duration, you could choose a degree that takes place over less time or could opt for an accelerated degree. You could also choose between part-time or full-time studying, and if you want to go for distance-learning or on-campus learning. Then you could also think about whether you want to work while you study and go for a work-integrated learning degree instead. Figure out what degree and course best suits your needs and interests.

Once you go through this process of questioning and answering, you’ll be able to get a clearer perspective on what you’d like to achieve and of your goals. This brings you one step closer to understanding your future and what you could plan for it. Once a program finally captures your interest, and meets all the criteria that you need it to, it’s to choose a university and make this decision final.

Choosing the University for You

University is an important step for any student. It’s a place that will become more meaningful than your home. It’s a place where you’ll study, work and make memories. It’s not just an institution; it’s an important step towards your future. Which makes choosing the perfect one even more necessary. How does one choose the perfect university that’s absolutely, 100% meant for them, and they’ll most likely get in? What should you, as a prospective student, look out for?

The most important thing you should look for when you’re researching universities is the academic criteria. Does the university offer the program that you’re interested in? If not, then what variations of it does it have? Does the university have a reputation for producing excellent academic results and other achievements within that program? Where is that university ranked for the course you want to study? Does the course content interest you? What are the admission requirements for the program and do you fit the criteria? What services can the university and that department offer to ensure you succeed?

Then you should probably look at the financial aspect of attending that university. Finances can have long-term impacts on your future, so you want to make sure you get the best quality education for the best price possible. What are the tuition fees for the program you’re applying to? How much is it for international students? Does the university offer merit-based or finance-based scholarships to international students, and if so, what is the criteria for acquiring a scholarship? What financial-aid opportunities are available? Are you able to pay off the balance, and would it put you in student-debt? What else do you have to pay for, e.g., residence, textbooks, lab coat? How much would you be paying for student accommodation, food, student services, etc.?

Once the list has shortened after making it past the previous two rounds, you should look at the location of the university. Do you want to live close to home, or farther away? Is the university too far? What’s the climate like in the region? How will you commute to your university? How close is it to transportation that will get you home (airports, train stations, etc.)?

Look at the student facilities offered by your university. What sports do they offer? Do they have a gym for students? What societies and clubs are present? Is there anything related to some of your hobbies? What event weeks do they have? Do they have good academic facilities? Do they have a good library with sufficient resources? Do they have cafes and other hang-out spots on-campus or near the campus?

These are just some questions that you can ask yourself while researching for universities that would suit you. These should make your decision much easier for you and just provide a push towards what’s right for you. In the end, the choice you make is your own, and should prove to be the best for you.

How to network during your studies

Everyone envisions their future and likes to imagine themselves as successful and at the peak of their careers. There are people who dream and then there are people who go out and work hard to fulfill their dreams.

One way that people ensure that their futures are bright and that they have a successful career, is by networking. Networking is vital in making connections and getting to know the right people who will enhance your career. You get advice, support and help from people who are pioneers in the industry. It helps you gain an advantage by finding out new opportunities that others might not know about, and that would be vital in your progress. In a world that thrives on ensuring you’re one step ahead, networking will keep you up to pace and prevents you from falling behind.

University is where you’d begin to network and learn more about how to do so along the way. It’s also very important to network during your studies so you’ve got a profile and a reputation built from the start.

One way you can network in your university is by getting to know your lecturers a bit. This might be the most important of all. Lecturers often have the most knowledge about the job market and what’s going on in the industry. They can give you more tips about how you can do better in your modules and can give advice to boost your career. They can also give your reference to interested employers that they may know, and can list down your name for many crucial opportunities. Staying in their good books would help you all that much more.

Getting involved around your university, as a part-time job or as a member of a society or club, leads to meeting new people, while also boosting your CV. The people you meet and get to know might know other people who help you out, and could put in a good word for you.

Universities usually have a careers center that prioritize student employability, which you could use to your advantage. They can help you get internships and let you know about upcoming job fairs that will help you meet people you can talk to about getting into the career you want to go for.

When you’re involved in your university and the student centers and the employability opportunities that they provide, or when you’re in constant communication with your lecturers, they can guide you to networking events that you could attend to expand your links. You could also look out for local events that are advised to see how they could help you out. When you attend such events, you get to talk to many different people who can help you out, and can get their contact details to ask them any specific queries you might have.

We all know the impact that social media can have. It’s a great way to raise awareness and communicate, but more importantly, it is a great way to reach out and connect with people. Using websites like LinkedIn to network and putting your profile out there are very good for expanding your network.

You could “cold email” (emailing and reaching out to people you don’t really know) people whose work you admire, and maybe receive a response from them and get advice on how they’ve achieved all that they have.

There are many different ways to network, and once you get the hang of it, you’d find it fun as well. The important thing is meeting the right people and asking the right questions. Once you acquire the skills of doing so, you’ve ensured a good support system and great advice, which would make all the difference.

How to assess campus life when you can’t visit the university in person

When you’re applying to a university abroad, it’s difficult to assess what the environment and campus life is like. So, you have to sit at home and figure out if this university is meant for you, and if it’s accepting of people of diverse backgrounds such as you. But how exactly can you understand the culture of an institution when you’ve never visited it before and can’t visit it now?

Social media platforms have managed to connect the world in ways that were probably deemed impossible. You can find different content on different platforms related to the university you’re interested in. A quick search on YouTube will show many vlogs and videos about student life, classes, education and more that’s offered by different colleges. You could always go on Reddit or Quora and look up blogs regarding what people think of the university, and what other’s experiences have been.

Some universities also offer live tours or videos of their campus and the student life there, and most of the time these tours are by fellow students so it’s more comfortable and honest than you’d expect. Utilising any of these choices will provide you with a clearer perspective of the university and if it’s meant for you.