At this time of the year, many students are anticipating admission into the Universities or colleges they applied. Many others are preparing to begin the first fall classes in a University they were newly admitted in. The first challenge of the university application process is deciding which universities to apply to, or which course to study. The choice is totally yours to make but before you repeat the mistakes made by many in the past, please read through these tips and reconsider your choices now you still have time to make the final decision. So here are some tips on how to choose a university, college or polytechnic or a course of study.
Make sure you’ve chosen the right course
It is fundamental to be 100% sure about your course. You will spend your next three to six years studying it, and then the next 40-50 years working in the area. If you have doubts about your choice, read as many things about it as you can. Check job options, course contents, salaries; Google is your friend. But you definitely do not want to realize after two months of studying that you want to be a dentist instead of a mathematician after all.
Many students in the past have switched from one course to another or transferred from one university to another as a freshman after putting two or more years in a previous university. There are also students who graduated with a Bachelors degree in a course, but because of their dissatisfaction with the course, they sought for admission to study a different course in another university. Time without number, I have advised some students not to drop a course in favour of another after the completion of the sophomore( second year). It is better to transfer to another course or school after the freshman( first year) but best, if made during the process of application for admission. If you want to transfer to a new course (in a different university), check if you can transfer some credits from the previous course to the new course( at least some GST or electives courses) If not, it is will be a huge economic waste, to start afresh. It is easier to transfer credits from, say nursing to medicine than from linguistics to nursing.
A good decision should be made before accepting admission in any university or college especially in Nigeria where a student applies for one course and ends up being offered admission into another. Rather than study a course that is not your dream, or transfers to another course after a year or more in a particular course, better defer that admission and wait for another year to try another university or course. You can defer your admission for a maximum of 2 years. If low scores were the reason for your not getting admission to study your desired course, then try working harder. Enrol in prep classes( for Jamb, GRE, GMAT, etc) to boost your scores in the coming year. Remember mere wishful desires for a certain profession without the requisite intellectual competency is simply an exercise in futility.
You have to know yourself and what you can do, before aspiring for anything. Don’t choose the course because your parents are pushing or because your friends are into it.
Consult university rankings ( How good is that University in that course? Is the course accredited?
When I started searching for universities, I checked all the major ranking tables and calculated averages. There are some which give you a general ranking, while others may have separate tables for each subject. For me, the most important data was enrollment capacity and tuition affordability. The higher the enrolment, the more hopeful I am in getting admission. The lesser the tuition the better. On the contrary, it better to take a loan to study a course of your choice, than to pay from your pockets and drop the course after a year or more.
Find out what the university library is like
One of the most important things is the library. You will spend a decent amount of your life in the library, so it should be a comfortable environment.
Check the course content
You can check the course content on the university website. If there’s an area within the subject you’re particularly interested in, check whether the university has it “on its menu” or not. Alternatively, you can contact the university directly, and I am sure they will be more than happy to answer any questions you have.
See what sports and societies are on offer
Whether you’re an avid footballer or love playing basketball, you should search for societies and clubs in the university to make sure there’s something to match your hobby. All universities offer dozens (or hundreds) of extra-curricular activities, and it’s important to check these out too. University life is not just about studying!
Find out about the student accommodation
If you’re starting university, you will probably be moving away from your family for the first time. Therefore it is essential that the accommodation you live in is nice and friendly, somewhere you can call your “home”. Be prepared: you may have to learn how to cook, how to use the washing machine and how to do the washing up. And don’t worry about the room-mates, flat-mates or floor-mates. It takes a few days to be best friends with everyone on the floor.
If you find these tips helpful, please like, comment and share. Remember to follow me for future posts.
©Clem C. Aladi