Despite what your teachers, parents and old mate down the road is telling you- choosing the ‘right’ uni or ‘right’ degree isn’t as big a deal as you might think. Over time, you might switch courses, change campus, defer a semester, choose a different pathway or drop out. Whatever happens, just because you start your degree somewhere doesn’t mean you have to finish it there. So, relax and don’t make any decisions based on what other people want for you- just think about what’s going to work for you.
1. Has it got the course you want?
It might seem pretty obvious, but you’re going to need to rule out uni’s that don’t have the courses you want, regardless of whether your friends are going there or if you think you’ll love the uni bar. Do some research into how the course is structured and take into account things like assessment formats and required placements.
2. Can you afford it?
While your actual degree costs aren’t going to differ too much from uni to uni, your living and travel costs will. Make sure you take into account things like rent if you’re living out of home and travel costs if it’s going to be a trek to campus. Also take note of any voluntary placements or internships your might have to complete (which will mean you wont be able to work) and student amenities fees. If you think you’ll need a bit of extra help, look into scholarships or government financial assistance before deciding your preferences.
3. What did you think of their Open Day?
Open days are the perfect opportunity to suss out the campus and whether a uni is going to suit you. Not only will you be able to collect a heap of free stuff, but open days will also give you the chance to see what the campus is like and what sort of vibe the lecturers, tutors and other students are giving out.
4. Does the uni life suit you?
There’s no point heading to a prestigious uni in the city if it means a four hour round trip and you hate your shitty train line. Not only will you be losing money by skipping that 9am lecture, you’ll probably end up resenting the whole uni experience altogether.
5. Will it give you the opportunities you need?
The harsh reality is a degree isn’t going to guarantee you a job. Different uni’s will give you different opportunities to help you get your foot in the door when you graduate; as always, it’s about who you know. Think about things like student exchange, internship opportunities, mentor programs, scholarships and networking events when deciding your uni.
6. You don’t have to ‘use up’ your final mark
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to ‘use up’ your final mark. If you’ve done really well, the worst thing you can do is let yourself be pressured into a course like medicine or engineering if that’s not something you’re interested in. You’re not wasting your potential if you start a course with a lower entry score. On the flip-side, if you haven’t quite got the marks you wanted, don’t freak out. There’s plenty of pathway options to get into uni, and you know we talk about apprenticeships and traineeships all the time- they’re a fulfilling and highly paid option too.