Top Things to Consider When Choosing a University

High school will soon be over and it’s time to plan your next big step. Going to university is a lot more than a higher level of education. It is joining others in an experience that will make memories and friendships that last a lifetime.  
There’s a lot to consider when choosing a university, but don’t feel overwhelmed. Ask yourself a few simple questions. Let your answers be your guide.


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?



Do you have a career in mind or are you still finding your way? Think carefully about your strengths and things that interest you. Would a liberal arts university be a fit, with emphasis on social sciences and humanities, and the option to try different things early so you can better identify your passions? Think about the learning style of the university. Is it a large university with lecture halls seating hundreds, or are the class sizes smaller? Do you want to be just another face in the crowd, or would you prefer to have dialogue with your professors? Look for clubs and societies, theatre, student government, internships, volunteer opportunities, travel-study, and exchange programs.



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 willing to move farther, make sure that everything aligns with your expectations and goals.


Campus Look and Feel

When you close your eyes and imagine campus, what do you see? Is it a tree-lined treasure? You don’t want to imagine afternoons spent studying in the shade of a tree only to find that your campus is buildings spread across the city. Check out the website, take an in-person tour, and visit social media to get a sense of campus.


Where to Live

If you plan to leave your hometown to attend university, you’ll need a place to live. Look into accommodations at your shortlisted universities. Do they have residences on campus? Consider how far you will be from classes, as well as stores and other amenities.


Financial Fit

There are a number of financial factors. Tuition fees vary, so consider this. Universities offer scholarships. Student loans are available, typically with payment plans that won’t begin until after graduation. Those leaving home will need to factor in accommodations and food and other costs. Perhaps you will be able to find part-time work, on campus or nearby. It’s important to discuss options with your parents and supporters, to understand the financial commitment involved.



Make sure you have support networks in place. For many, parents or guardians are only a phone call or a text away. 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.



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 career options later. 
By spending a little time identifying the right university, you will set yourself up for a great life experience and a rewarding career.