If there’s one decision that would ultimately define your academic journey, it’s your choice in university. Mulling over a plethora of options can be exciting, but it can also be frustrating.
The United States has over 4,000 colleges and universities. These higher education institutions are located mostly in city centers, while others are in rural towns.
Education in the US is a rewarding experience. So while the task of choosing a university is taxing, the result is often life-changing.
Consider these five things when choosing a university in the US:
Culture and Community
More than academics, it’s the culture and sense of belongingness that shape your collegiate career. University culture is often derived from core values, vision, and goals, which extends to the relationship among students.
A large influence in university culture is the location. Studying in the city center gives you quick access to important facilities, but the busy lifestyle may constrain your learning.
In contrast, attending school in a rural town gives you more breathing space, but access to amenities are often compromised.
Tuition Fees and Other expenses
Student debt is a modern-day nightmare, sending students and their parents into life-long financial challenges. According to CNBC, student debt ballooned to $1.7 trillion in 2020.
American education isn’t cheap. And while there are many options to fund your education, it’s vital to calculate the costs of your attendance.
Private universities are naturally more expensive, but most of them offer cutting-edge technology and facilities. Studying in public state universities is more affordable, so you’ll often have extra cash for services to supplement your education.
Alumni connections are often left at the end of the checklist, but they definitely offer the best advantages to students.
It’s common for alumni to maintain a connection with the university. In most cases, they extend support in various forms including scholarships and employment.
If you’re in for valuable personal and professional growth, choose a university with an outstanding alumni network.
Internships and Research
Undergraduates who want to pursue a graduate degree usually find admission hard due to little research involvement. In some universities, published research (and other alternative requirements), are evaluated for admission.
A relevant internship experience is also vital during job applications. Employers want graduates whose internships are aligned with their chosen degree.
Find a university with good internship support and undergraduate research sponsorship. Later in life, if you choose to pursue a master’s degree or employment, these two things would matter the most.
Global Consciousness and Diversity
As an international student, it’s imperative to select a university that values who you are. Discrimination is a serious fear for many foreign students, so choose a university that highly condemns this.
Interestingly, many universities claim to promote and cultivate cultural diversity. However, there are instances where this statement is nothing more than a piece of advertisement.
When choosing a university, it’s necessary to look beyond the brochures and more into testimonies. Narratives from former or current students are the best source.
Choosing a university is a daunting task yet very rewarding when done right. Browse through our articles here at MSM Unify to help you find the perfect university for you.