USA unquestionably is the most preferred higher education destination. With rich academic setting, international exposure, flexible program, up-to-date infrastructure, and over 4,500 colleges to choose from, it has every reason to be the most sought after destination. While it is easy to select a specific country to pursue higher education, selecting the university needs painstaking deliberation. International students are so charmed by the prospect of studying in a particular country that they tend to overlook many important factors and land themselves in a tight spot. The decision to pursue further education in a particular university requires careful considerations.
Here are a few important points to keep in mind before you select a university:
Sign up with a genuine overseas education counseling company: What you need more than anything else is the right advice and realistic picture of what lies ahead in store for you. Never hesitate in enrolling with an authentic counseling outfit, which can aid you in short listing the right schools on the basis of your GPA, standardized scores, aptitude and career inclinations. Blindly applying to top 50 without knowing your stakes will only make your plans go pear-shaped and leave you disappointed.
Ranking: university ranking is a great way of assessing the overall academic environment of such institution. It is indicative of the pedagogical approach, quality of infrastructure, qualification of faculty and employment opportunities one can expect upon graduation.
Knowledge of program you are going for: it is important to ascertain a strong understanding of the program you are applying for and ensure that the program is recognized and credited. This is particularly relevant when you are going for rare specializations such as Radiologic Sciences, Oriental Medicines, Archeology, etc. Just relying on the university ranking is not enough to make up your mind to pursue the program from a particular college.
Campus placement and recruitment initiatives: it is imperative that you do your bit in researching about campus placements and job opportunities post acquiring degree from the university in question. After all, a foreign degree is going to cost you a pretty penny, and the best return on investment is to get a lucrative job that ensures a bright future and a fat paycheck.
Student faculty Ratio: it is important to be aware of student faculty ratio before you enroll in a particular university. Chances of getting personalized attention are higher if the student-faculty ratio is lower. Besides confirming this ratio, it is also important to know the average batch size to get a complete picture.
Research opportunities, Co-op programs, and Alumni network: these are significant benefits that a university can offer and therefore you must always enquire whether the college encourages students in assisting professors in their research undertakings. Some colleges set aside funds to support capstone projects and individual research initiatives. Also, get an idea of whether the college aids in facilitating summer internships for students. The more opportunities you have for experiential learning, the more hands-on experience you will be able to accumulate. In addition if the college has a robust alumni network, make sure that you link up with ex-students who can help you with their experience, professional advice and recruitment opportunities.
Do a reality check: getting admission to well-known and prestigious university is a matter of pride but the completion of the degree is proportionately challenging. What is as important as the school ranking is the how well the program is designed and how well it resonates with your interests.
Location of the university: geographical location of the college is more important than you may think. Remember that you are not going on a holiday but going to be residing there for an extended period. In some areas, you must be mentally prepared to weather harsh and extreme weather conditions if you are not accustomed to.
Educational expenses: When you are planning your overseas education, this is one factor that must never be discounted. Your cost of education does not only cover your tuition fee but also involves your living expenses. While private universities are costlier, they offer better facilities and professor to student ratio. State universities, on the other hand, offer competitive fee advantages to students facing budget crunch but may not pay as much individual attention as private universities do. Universities located along East and West coast would be costlier as compared to universities located in small towns.
Accreditation: It is crucial that the school, you intend to attend has earned an accreditation certificate that demonstrates its high academic excellence. In case the university does not meet recommended standards, you may not be able to transfer your credit to another university and which will also dampen your job prospects.
Remember to do an honest assessment of your academic credentials and financial capabilities and then measure it against the university requirements before you finally seal your decision.