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Top Things to Consider When Choosing a University

It’s time to plan your next big step. Going to university is about more than just pursuing a higher level of education. It's also about joining others in a shared experience, discovering new interests, making memories, and meeting lifelong friends.
 
There’s a lot to consider when choosing a university. Here are a few questions to get you started. The answers will help guide you to the ideal place for YOU. 

 

Two students at a table with an open textbook in front of them

 

Discover Your “Why?”

When making any important decision, it’s always wise to start with “Why?” This gets to the root of your motivations and reveals your best options. Start by asking yourself why you want to go to university. What do you want out of the experience?

 

Academics

Do you have a field of study or specific career in mind, or are you still finding your way? STU's emphasis on social sciences and humanities and the option to explore different academic disciplines is something our students appreciate. Exposure to different fields often leads to discovering new passions and opening up multiple areas of potential career paths. 

Think about the learning style at the university. Is it a large university with lecture halls seating hundreds, or are the class sizes smaller? Does being part of a crowd appeal to you, or would you prefer to have a more collaborative experience in class—more dialogue with your peers and professors?

Look for clubs and societies, theatre, , internships, volunteer opportunities, travel-study, and exchange programs.

 

Location

What are you looking for in location? If there’s a suitable university in or nearby your hometown or city, that can be a great option. If you are looking to move farther, make sure that everything aligns with your expectations and goals. Not too big and not too small, is home to multiple universities and colleges, making it a fantastic student city. 

 

Campus Look and Feel

When you close your eyes and imagine campus, what do you see? Is it a tree-lined treasure or a busy downtown city? STU's nationally recognized campus is as quaint as it is vibrant. Picturesque in all seasons, campus has been designed to make it easy for students to get from building to building (less than five minutes to walk anywhere on campus). Check out the website, take an in-person tour, and visit to get a sense of campus.

 

Where to Live

Look into on and off campus housing options at your shortlisted universities. What are the residences like on campus—how far away from classes and dining halls are they; what kind of community does each house offer? Living in residence is highly recommended for first-year students as a way to immerse yourself in your new community, make friends, and share all the many experiences of your first year. 

 

Financial Fit

There are a number of financial factors. Tuition fees vary and so does the availability and accessibility of scholarships. Those leaving home will need to factor in accommodations and food and other costs. Perhaps you will be looking for part-time work—working on campus is a great way to balance employment and academics. It’s important to discuss options with your parents/supporters, to understand the financial commitment involved.

 

Support  

Make sure you have support networks in place. Once away from home, you want to ensure your surroundings offer you the best possible chance for success. The size of the university and the city can play into this. Also, is there a close-knit and inviting feel? At many schools, you can chat with current students online to speak with who have first-hand experience.

 

Future

While some students may have a very clear career path in mind, many will not. If uncertain, look for a school that won’t pigeonhole you early on. That room to explore different areas of study in your first year can help you to identify your passions and focus. Certain degrees, such as those offered at liberal arts universities like STU, can open the door to multiple career options later. 
 
By spending a little time identifying the right university, you will set yourself up for a great academic, life, and career path.