For decades, United States has been known for its excellence in education and research. The US institutions continue to be listed among the top universities in the world for producing the most capable bunch of professionals every year; which is why people from all over the globe choose US for studying their degrees. Picking the right institution for yourself can be a tricky task but you can get it right by researching and planning well. Here is a list of things you should think about while choosing your university:
University rankings give you a general outlook on the academic and research performance of the university and it tells you about where an institution stands among all others in the world. It is best to choose a university with a reasonable ranking as it is likely to be recognized among the potential employers and other universities thus opening doors to brighter future prospects.
Most higher education institutions in the US have their own student run organisations and unions. These unions represent the whole student body and create opportunities for students to get involved in activities including athletics, clubs and societies and leisure. Additionally, the student unions help with student employment, support services for dyslexia and other disabilities and advisory services. The unions are also a central platform for socialising and entertainment.
Funding is an important factor to consider while planning to study abroad. Remember you would not only need to pay the tuition fees, but you would also have to take care of other expenses including boarding and lodging, rent and maintenance. These costs vary for every university and study destination. This is why you need to choose a university that meets your financial capacity. It is recommended to have some saving available for the funding of your studies, but other ways to help you finance your studies are scholarships including the Fulbright Scholarship and working part-time with studies.
The opportunities for student employment include working on campus, off campus, CPT, OPT and STEM Extension. To find out more about working in the USA.
University accreditation is a form of recognition given to educational institutes by the US Department of Education. The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions meets acceptable levels of quality. Before you apply to any institution, check if it is genuinely accredited and well known to save you any trouble in future.
Student Support Services
Studying away from home is challenging and you can highly benefit from guidance on every point of the experience. The universities understand this and offer services to aid the students. These services include career and immigration counselling, support for disabilities, general advisory services etc. Most US universities have a separate counsellor/ advisor for each student that they can directly contact for general queries and concerns. In addition, you are assigned a Designated School Official (DSO) that addresses and supports your employment progression.
It would be worthwhile to search about other facilities on campus including IT, labs, cafeterias, gym and restaurants.
Each university provides statistics that can be useful for you. Among these are the employability rates of the graduates. It shows how welcoming the employers are to the graduates of the universities you are considering, thus depicting how thoroughly the university grooms its students for entering the real world. Higher the employability rates, higher would be the university’s recognition, academic performance and ranking.
Opportunity to Research
It is sensible to think about future academic and professional prospects of studying a degree as it is a long term investment for your future. Looking into prospects for research and development is increasingly important for Postgraduate and Doctorate level students. You can find out about research quality at a university by exploring the ongoing research programmes in your department of interest, faculty’s qualifications and publications, research facilities and research funding.
When it comes to finding an accommodation, you have a couple of options. You can choose to live in the Halls of Residence at the university, live with family or friends, rent an apartment or live in shared accommodation. It would be worthwhile to talk to the housing department of the university to find out about the options available around the campus and their respective cost.
Campus Environment and Location
It is a good idea to put some effort into researching about the location of the campus, facilities available in the university and about the campus student life. This will give you a better insight into the kind of life you would have in the years to come, kind of people you would be likely to meet, facilities that would be available to you.
Studying abroad means you will have to be flexible and adaptable to adjust into the new environment, but it would help to weigh your options by determining the location that suits you the most. The factors to think about here include climate, availability of Halal food, accommodation, local culture of the area and transport system as US is a very varied and diverse land, it can offer all sorts of different setups.