How To Choose The Right University For You
Here a few steps to help you choose the right university for you!
Table of contents
1. University Rankings
First and foremost, have a target course in mind and find all relevant Universities which offer your course. Browse through the list and filter them based on a particular course/faculty/region etc.
Universities are globally ranked for their excellence in various fields- either teaching, research, or subject-wise ranking. You can check these world ranking systems to influence your choices better. Check out the different ranking systems and come up with a sorted list.
2. Types of Colleges and Universities in the USA
If you are not aware of the U.S. University system, here is a little overview of the different types of Universities you will come across in the USA.
Universities offer standard undergraduate and graduate programs. Sometimes, they might also be known as ‘Colleges’ due to historical reason. Graduate programs like Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Business Administration (M.B.A), Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctoral programs (PhD) can be pursued at the universities. They may be public (administered by the individual states and territories), or private.
Community colleges offer two-year colleges, providing the students with an Associate’s Degree, such as Associate of Arts (A.A.). They have lower fees than Universities. Many students opt for an A.A. degree at community colleges before enrolling for a four-year Bachelor’s degree at Universities/Colleges.
Liberal arts colleges
Liberal arts colleges have smaller enrollments, are considerably small in size, and have a higher teacher-student ratio than Universities. They emphasize on liberal arts. These colleges traditionally emphasize interactive instruction, though student research projects are of growing importance.
3. Admission Intakes and Course Requirements
American universities offer two intakes in a year, unlike the single intake system of Indian Universities. These two intakes are in the Fall semester and the Spring Semester. If you are aiming for the Fall semester, which usually begins in August, your deadline can be anywhere from January to March. If you are applying for admission for the Spring intake which starts in January, your deadline is probably anywhere between July and September of the previous year. Make sure you check all deadlines and plan accordingly. There might also be a third Summer intake, which starts in May. But this is limited to a few colleges and programmes. Fall intake will surely give you more choices than spring/summer. However, if your favourite course is offered only in spring/summer, do not hesitate to go for it.
Now having the list of Universities/colleges ready with you, you can begin analyzing the eligibility criteria for securing admission. If you do not meet the requirements as stated by the University, you can cross it off from your list as your application will not make it through the initial stage of the admission process.
4. Course curriculum
This is a mandatory requirement to be checked on before you decide to apply for any University. Go through the curriculum which your desired courses have to offer. Check the specializations, distribution of credits, subjects taught, alignment with your previous degree and other things like Internships and the Master thesis which need to be completed to get your final degree. Make sure that the programme curriculum aligns with your interests. Reject the ones which do not fit.
5. Other Influencing Factors
One smart thing to do is to talk to your seniors (people who are currently studying in the USA) and inquire on the Facebook and WhatsApp groups. Lastly, consider these factors to arrive at the final list.
Remember that, in the end, your University will be the one choosing you. Do not go overboard with a lot of optimism. We would recommend picking no more than 5-7 universities. Then you will have a better chance of focusing on these selected universities. Also, you would know the reasons why you want to apply to those universities.