If you are choosing a university, you are finding no shortage of advice on what to consider. While some things may be obvious (location, costs, etc.) there are some aspects that may not have occurred to you.
Here are five things you probably didn’t think of when selecting a university:
Students, classes, campus life, sports. It can be easy to think that all universities are the same. But each university has its own culture, including the university’s approach to learning, location, size, and more. Ask yourself what kind of culture you are looking for. What fits your interests and personality? Are there clubs, societies, and activities that align with your interests? It is reassuring to know there is a strong sense of community waiting for you when you arrive. Engage with current students and see if their experiences align with what you want.
2. University Size
You may be surprised of the size range of universities. The largest university in Canada is home to over 80,000 students! Meanwhile, Canada’s smallest universities have only between 2,000 – 3,000 students attending at any given time. (At STU, we have around 1,700 students from more than 35 countries!) A smaller university is more likely to provide a close-knit community feel.
3. Class Sizes
Do you want to attend classes in large lecture halls that can seat thousands, or would you prefer to learn in a smaller classroom setting? Small classes offer students opportunities for dialogue with professors, and professors the chance to get to know their students and understand their learning needs. (At STU the average class size is just 24 students, with smaller classes in upper years!)
4. Academic Approach
The academic approach of a given university can be influenced by class sizes and university type. Even among universities that appear similar from the outside, it could pay to look more deeply into their approach to teaching. Do you want the space to try different academic disciplines in your first year so you can discover what really speaks to you? Will your professors be accessible? Will your classes be engaging? What about experiential learning? Does the university offer internships or career guidance?
People often talk about academic subjects and career paths, but not always about the pursuit of meaning. You don’t need to have your whole life figured out the day you start university. If you feel unsure about a career path, look for a university that will give you the time and space to try different areas of study. While some majors are very focused on specific career paths, others, like the kind of liberal arts education you will receive at STU, can open the door to a diverse range of career options, putting you on the path to a life filled with meaning.
Above all, be excited! The years spent at university are, for many people, some of the most memorable years of their lives. When you spend the time upfront to pick a university that really fits your personality, you will be on the path not only to a good education, but also to an amazing experience.