How to choose a university, without stress (almost!)
Do you have trouble choosing a university? We explain a simple process so that you know your options and make your best choice. Do you plan to study in the university but you are dizzy by the variety of universities and careers offered, or are you already clear your choice? In both cases continue reading. We explain step by step a simple process so that you know all your options and make your best choice.
Deciding where you want to study is one of the most personal decisions, and for many stressors, you have to do. A very important factor to keep in mind is that each person is different, and therefore you should look for universities adapted to your particular projects, interests and abilities. Do not be led by general data or comments. Look for specific information that is important to you.
One fact that many students do not know is that Spain is one of the European countries with the highest rate of university failure. The main reason is the tendency to leave the decision of what and where to study for the last moment. Then, with pressure, decisions are made quickly, with little information or, worse, based on misconceptions about the nature of the different university programs in the market. The result is that many young people, disillusioned with a career that is not what they imagined, drop out of school. Others, fortunately more persistent, change their careers. But the best thing is to hit the first time! That is why we recommend starting the decision process as soon as possible. Starting in 4th of ESO is not too early. But if you are in 2nd grade and have not yet thought, do not worry. You’re on time, but you should start now. Let’s go there! From indecision to choice in 8 easy steps.
Step 1: Determine which career or career you would like to study
This is a very personal decision as where to study. Some factors that you should take into account are your interests and skills, your ideas about the type of work that you would like to do after studies, and work outputs that may have certain studies. This last factor often is not valued enough, but don’t forget that you are taking a decision with major implications for your future. Not to say that you should rule out a career that you love because it has a high rate of unemployment, or much less. On the one hand, the labor market can change much until you finish the race. On the other hand, we have said that it does not use general data. 80% of unemployment means that there is a 20% that is working. It is entirely possible that you possess qualities that will help you to be in this 20%. But you should objectively evaluate these possibilities. The Counselor for your school or Institute is a good resource if you want to help in this assessment. You can use our career search engine to investigate the offer of university degrees in Spain.
Step 2: Identify the criteria you want to use to consider colleges
You have to start limiting the number of universities you are going to study closely, and for that you must decide what your selection criteria will be. These will be different for each student, but there are three that can help you make a first screening.
The career or careers you want to study: The careers you identified in step number one are the first important criterion, since you will want to limit your search to universities that provide those careers and also have a good academic program.
Difficulty of access: The ease of entering a particular career varies from one university to another. Maybe you want to discard universities that do not require a certain minimum level to enter the chosen career or, on the contrary, you see that your chances of entering certain universities is limited by your grades.
Cost: If you want to limit the cost of your studies, you will probably eliminate some universities for your consideration. Do not forget to take into account the costs of accommodation, food, leisure, etc. It can also influence the possibility of obtaining scholarships, or your willingness to combine work and studies.
Other common criteria that may help you keep debugging your list are:
Prestige of the university . If this is important to you, it can be a determining factor. Prestige brings its benefits, but beware, the level of quality within a university can vary from one degree to another. Make sure the quality of the curriculum of the career you are interested in.
Teachers: Both their knowledge and their teaching ability impact on the quality of teaching you will receive. It is important to inform you about who your teachers will be in your career, their references, if they actively participate in research, if they relate to the business world, etc. Also important is the ratio of students per teacher, the size of classes, and the access you will have to them out of class.
The program approach: From one university to another, the approach to the same career can be very different. They also differ in the relative weight they give to theoretical and practical work, and the flexibility they give students to personalize their studies.
Technical Means and Facilities: Do you want to study a high-tech or scientific discipline? Is a beautiful or modern environment important to you? Maybe you want to take into account the quality of the facilities in your evaluation: libraries, laboratories, classrooms for practices, computer facilities, sports, etc.
Programs of labor insertion: There is a great variety among the programs implemented by each university to facilitate the labor insertion of its students.
Geographic location: Do you want to stay close to home, or would you like to venture further afield? Do you prefer a large city or a smaller town?
College Size: Do you like an atmosphere with a lot of people, or maybe a small and cozy environment is more to your liking?
Exchange Programs: If you feel like doing part of your studies abroad, it may be important to look at what exchange programs offer the universities on your list.
Diversity: If you value a cosmopolitan environment a lot, or you worry about the balance between boys and girls, you can include in your calculations the percentage of foreign students, from other provinces, or from the opposite sex.
Social life: Perhaps it is important for you to evaluate aspects that will influence your social life, such as the organization of extracurricular activities, clubs, teams, the requirement of studies, etc.
Step 3: Make a long list of colleges that may interest you
Once you have some basic idea of the criteria that are important to you, you can begin to prepare a preliminary list of universities that may interest you. You may already have suggestions from your friends, your family and perhaps the counselor of your institute.
Step 4: Collect more detailed information about each university on your list
Adiconal to collect information you can use the search engine yaq.es universities . It allows you to quickly compare some of the most important features of all the universities in Spain and you can ask them to send you more information by email. You can visit the web pages and telephone them to get more detailed information about the criteria you have defined.If you have relatives or friends who are students or alumni from universities on your list, they are an excellent source of information. Another very good option to get first hand information is to attend one of the educational fairs that are organized in various parts of Spain. They allow you to speak directly with representatives of many universities in a single day.
Step 5: Apply your step 2 criteria to shorten your list of colleges
With the information you collected in step 4, and the criteria you chose in Step 2, you can go over your list of colleges and do a second screening. The goal is to reduce the list to a reasonable number that you can visit in person. How many are a reasonable number? That depends on each one, but in most cases 5 or less is sufficient.
Step 6: Visit the Universities of your shortened list of Step 5
There is no better way to get to know a university than to visit it in person: take part in a guided tour or briefing, talk to students and teachers, attend a class, breathe the air and feel the atmosphere. You will spend some years studying the race. Do not you think it’s worth spending a few hours at every college you’re considering to ensure you’d be comfortable there? If some universities are too far away to visit, try at least talking to students and alumni to get an idea of what they are like.
Step 7: Apply for admission to universities that you like
Well, the research phase is finally over! After the visits, it is necessary to make the definitive list of universities and to request admission. There is no magic number of applications that applies to everyone. If you apply for admission to 1 or 2 universities where, due to your access requirements, it is difficult (but not impossible) to enter, 2 or 3 where you have a good chance of entering and at least one where you are almost certain to enter, you have covered all possibilities. But it is a personal decision. There are people who only apply in the best universities, others that for particular reasons request in very few. And it is clear that it does not make sense to apply for admission to a university where you would not go even if you were accepted.
Step 8: Choose from the universities that have admitted you
If you have followed all the steps, chances are that you will be admitted to more than one university. !! Congratulations!! Now it is you who decide, and it is the universities that have to convince you. If you have applied for a scholarship or other aid, study well the offers you receive from each university. If your first choice has given you the lowest offer, do not discard re-talking to them, especially if it is a private university. The competition for attracting students is increasingly close, and you may find that the university is willing to improve its proposal.