There are a number of things you need to think about before enrolling into a university programme.
There are many ways to boost your career, such as working hard, networking with the right people, and honing your leadership skills, but one strategy that’s more important than ever for many industries now is having the right qualifications.
If you’re thinking of enrolling in a university degree programme in the New Year, carefully consider the various education providers to ensure you find the best option for your needs. Apart from the academic reputation of a college, there are other elements to weigh up.
Read on for 4 of the key things you should consider when making your final selection.
1. How flexible the programs are
For starters, it pays to consider the flexibility of the programs you’re interested in. You want to know that the courses will enable you to study all the areas you need and want to be educated on, and at the same time not lock you into having to do a bunch of units that don’t relate to your interests.
Flexibility is also a key factor if you plan to fit your studies in around your job, raising a family, or other commitments. For example, you might need to find a university that offers an online version of your preferred course, so that you can study at night, on weekends, and at other times when you have free minutes or hours. For instance, many online MBA programs are popular, because most students are already working in a full-time job.
If you want to complete your studies more quickly than the standard timeframe allowed, you’ll need to find a program that allows courses to be combined or accelerated. Similarly, if you’ve always hoped to study abroad for a period so you can broaden your horizons, meet new people, and learn a language, choose an education provider that makes these opportunities available.
2. The location of the university
Depending on a variety of things, such as if you have a family, current job, and more, you might be restricted to finding a university in a location close to where you live. When you’ve just finished high school, and are heading off to enroll in a degree, you might not mind (and actually welcome) getting far away from your family and where you grew up, but as an older student this can be very different.
Keep in mind that if you need to get to a campus before or after work, or if you don’t have a car or your area doesn’t have much access to public transport, you will probably also want to choose a university that you can walk to or reach very quickly by some other method.
Similarly, if you have children and need to be nearby to drop them off to school, pick them up, then take them to extra-curricular activities, attending a facility that’s close to home and school can also be important. Always consider location when selecting a provider.
3. What kind of career support and opportunities you will receive
Next, because you’re attending university to boost your career, it’s a good idea to look into the kind of career support and other opportunities you will receive if you choose a particular institution. Some will have extensive career services, networking facilitation, and the like, while others won’t have a focus on this at all, so always do your research.
When comparing schools, ask about whether career support is available on campus or via an online portal, and if there are many students per career counselor. For example, you may find that it is so hard to get in to see someone that you don’t get much support as a result. Also ask about job fairs, internship placements, mentoring programs, networking and alumni groups which can help you build connections, and on-campus interviews run by local companies.
4. The type of culture and facilities available
Lastly, another important component of choosing the right university for your needs is selecting one that has a good culture and plenty of top-class facilities. You may want to investigate if the campus is known for its sense of community and school spirit, and look around to see if there is a diverse student and teaching base or not.
It’s also wise to research things such as the safety record of the university; sporting, science, art, music, and other specialized facilities; the kind of financial aid and scholarship opportunities you can get access to if needed; disabled ramps, bathrooms, parking spots, and other features for less abled students; and the kinds of extra-curricular clubs and networks which are being run.
Tiffany Rowe is a writer for Seek Visibility, contributing regularly to Careers24’s career advice section, with a focus on the finance sector. She is passionate about developing content and relationship across multiple platforms and audiences.
What you might also like: