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Beyond the rankings: What makes a college matter?


Choosing a university can be a hard task and most international students rely on university rankings such as the QS World University Rankings and Times Higher Education, especially if your priority universities are located in the UK or the USA as that’s where the most of the top-10 world universities come from.

However, how do you really know what rankings are about and what they measure? Are you confident that these are the metrics you want to rely on for your study abroad destination?

To make the most informed decision, here are a few ideas on what you should also check for when choosing a university besides their ranking position. 

Variety and quality of courses

It’s vital to make sure that your chosen university is going to prepare you for that profession. First, make sure their courses and modules are updated, and the university is research focused and up to date in the area you wish to specialize in.

Safety and security

It is important that wherever you go, you feel safe.
First of all, check the city the university is located in. Check if it’s safe, and what are its crime rates, and how late does public transport run in that area.
Then you may check on university web pages to see if they have their own security services on the campus and in student accommodation sites. Your safety should be one of your university’s top priorities.

Funding opportunities and reasonable tuition fees

Since your studying is going to take a few years, it’s clever to make a financial plan.
If you’re moving away from home then that includes living costs, travel costs, tuition fees, study materials… The list goes on and on. That’s why you should explore all possibilities related to funding and scholarship to see if your desired university offers any kind of financial support.
Some universities offer paid tuition fees, some one-time stipends, some both and some none. That may be the outweighing factor if you cannot decide which university to send your application to.

Social life and free time

Societies and clubs act like small university-based NGOs that you can join for a little to no fee. They can be sports, art, religion, social or hobby based. Another thing is to check if your campus has sports facilities such as a gym or a swimming pool where you can take care of your mind and body, usually for a much smaller price than out-of-campus options.
And of course, at the end of the day you’ll probably want to grab something to eat or have a drink with your friends, so an on-campus pub or a café is a must. Do a little virtual tour of the campus and explore the possibilities.

University facilities and support services

Besides feeling safe, it feels good when you know you have someone to talk to.
Here I don’t mean your friends but professional staff that know how to deal with all kinds of problems students may have. That includes finance problems and advice, health and wellbeing services, generic student services, Student’s union or even library services.

Did you find this article helpful?

You can take advantage of this information and start your process today with GECCA.