Finding the best university involves personalization and self-reflection. There is no universally the 'best' university, and individuals should consider factors such as:
- teaching and assessment styles
- academic rigor
- size of the institution
- extracurricular opportunities
- student community
Hear from Melanie about exactly how to pinpoint the best university 'FOR YOU'...
I've lost count of the number of times students have to me, how do I find the best university?
The important answer to that is you need to add another two words to the question. How can I find the best university for me? There isn't one university anywhere that's best for everyone.
To answer that for me, you need to start with yourself. You need to start by some self reflection, and there are some great tools out there that can help you. The more be profile being one of them.
You can also reflect on your own experiences so far in and outside the classroom.
You can use this start building up a picture of fit for what will suit you for the environment that you will thrive in.
Because the best university for you is somewhere that you can be successful where you will thrive both academically and personally.
So some key things you should have a think about is the curriculum that you're looking for and the structure of it.
How much choice do you want versus how much want the university to decide for you? How many compulsory, how many optional modules? How much breadth do you want versus how much focus? Do you really want to laser in to one sub object and look at a single honours type degree. Actually, would you like to look at big challenges or questions through the lens of multiple subjects in an interdisciplinary style degree. Do you want the opportunity to study abroad of subjects and really get a range in your studies then may pre liberal arts and sciences be right for you.
Maybe you know one area that you do want to get some depth in, but you want to add a bit more of other things around it and make baby a program or property led approach might suit you. So once you've thought about your curriculum structure and the subjects within it you want to study, think about the teaching style think about the assessment style. Do you do better at course or what could you do better in exams, or do you want a mix of both?
Would you do better somewhere where you can have some practical components or complete work experience, or are you more a purely theoretical person?
You do also need to think about the academic rigour and grade profile that the institution is looking for and how that matches with what you can offer them.
Once you've thought about the academic fit, you need to think about the community fit. This size of the institution that will suit you, shapes your experience as a student in a myriad of different ways. It will shape the variety of classes you have to choose from and the size of some of those courses.
It will shape what it feels like to walk across campus.
Walking across the campus of a university with thirty, forty thousand students is very different to walking across a campus that only has one or two thousand How anonymous do you like to be? How happy are you to throw yourself into the life of that institution to make friends?
Where will you be more successful?
It also shapes the type of extracurriculars there are, the variety of them and the level which you can play, not to mention the access to sports facilities you might have for training if that's something that's of interest to you. And then finally, I want you to think about the students that you will be there with.
Think about your values. Think about what motivates you. Think about the kind of peers that will help bring out the best in you. There are lots of different institutions and courses out there. Finding the best one for you, in starting with thinking about what is right for you. And then finding the ones that will match it. So how do you go about process.
Well, the one thing COVID gave us as a silver lining was a myriad of online resources. There are fantastic virtual tours you can watch from the comfort of your laptop.
There are great online sessions, both live and prerecorded that you can watch. There are some fantastic platforms that allow you to chat to current students.
You can go visit institutions on open days.
And the more sessions you listen to, the more talks you listen to the more people you discuss with. You will pick up things where you go.
I would really love that. Put it on your list of things you want.
I would really hate that. Put it on your list of things to avoid.
Build the picture of what fits you and then match it to the institutions you're looking at Find the places you fit best and you've found the best places for you.