Choosing the right University: Your 5 step checklist
Your final years of education are filled with various ‘little’ stresses, just waiting to grow bigger, until you’re staring at a metaphorical stress Godzilla, ready to engulf your VCE hopes.
Picking the right university for your upcoming tertiary education can prove almost as nail biting as the exams themselves, with it setting up the rest of your life potentially. Luckily, through a handy 5 step checklist, you cannot go wrong.
*Author note: I completed VCE in 2017, and chose Monash University’s Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) course. I was tossing up between Monash, Deakin and the University of Melbourne, and I used these dot points to make my decision.
1. Location, location, location
When the prestige of a University is involved, it is easy to convince yourself that a 2 hour trek into the city every day is a piece of cake. However, in the hustle and bustle of the academic year, are you really going to want to spend each morning on the train turning your head to the guy with onion breath sitting next to you? The travel time and physical accessibility of the University is an essential aspect of ensuring you will continue your studies beyond a few weeks.
For me, I had narrowed down my choice to 3 universities, all equally appealing. However, one was a 60 minute train ride and a subsequent 15 minute tram ride away, one required driving into a stacked car park every day, and the third required a cozy 10 minute drive to a shopping centre with free parking, and a 20 minute bus ride. Guess which one I chose.
2. Mini City or Tight Community?
Institutions like Monash and Melbourne are truly sights to behold, a Metropolis of intellect. However, if a miniature city is not what you are after in a University, consider picking something smaller, like ACU for example. Friends of mine have told me that everyone knows everyone at places like that, so it’s important to reflect upon what you are wanting to get socially out of a University.
3. The Social Aspect
Some students just want to rock up for lectures and tutorials, and then bolt home faster than Batman in the Dark Knight Rises. For others, University is the perfect opportunity to branch out, meet lifelong friends, possibly even their future partner. Thus, it is vital to seek out the social opportunities at each university. Find out if Monash offers a Dungeons and Dragons club, or Deakin has a solid Shakespeare Society, or RMIT has awesome parties on the beach. Little things like these could make University for you!
4. Where are your friends going?
Please don’t get me wrong, sacrificing your academic career to ensure you and your friend maintain your daily lunch dates at Schnitz is a terrible idea. Only consider this option when you can’t seem to separate 2 options. For me, this and the location were the two biggest factors in choosing my university. Having a friend by your side in the initial weeks is an amazing way to combat the stomach butterflies, and gives you a study pal from the outset. However, there is nothing wrong with going solo either, with it forcing you out of your comfort zone, and ensuring every day you are meeting a potential life long friend.
5. The Job at the end
At the end of the day, University should be a pathway to a rewarding career. Seek out the internship opportunities the Uni provides, the employment rate for students completing your course, anything you can to ensure that you are not putting your heart and soul into a pointless cause. I see it wise to start with the end in mind, make sure that your University experience will be remembered as the first step, to the rest of your life. Good luck!
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