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How do you choose the perfect Uni?

Recently, I had a conversation with a female friend of mine who has been academically brilliant from our secondary school days until she completed her studies at the university. Throughout her journey, she consistently achieved excellent grades and demonstrated profound knowledge, clearly making a significant contribution to the future development of our country.

This young woman, who excelled in the sciences, completed her studies in a health-related field. However, what surprised me and prompted deep reflection was her lack of interest in pursuing a career in her field of study.

It wasn’t that she couldn’t find a job; the subjects she studied are in line with the country’s policy to promote knowledge, technology, and vocational skills. She shared with me that despite her academic success, she never truly enjoyed her studies. The main reason she pursued this path was due to financial support, feeling she had no other choice but to “suffer what she must” since her family was poor.

Now, she’s engaged in rural work, completely unrelated to her field of study, not because she couldn’t find a job, but because it’s what she loves and brings her peace.

This situation led me to ponder an important question: What should one consider before going to university?

It’s crucial to pay attention to certain aspects before deciding to study at a particular university, as not only will you be investing a significant amount of money, but your future career will largely depend on this decision.

Choosing a university simply because your friends are there, your parents want you to go, or it’s what your siblings studied – even if you’re not capable of it – can jeopardize your future. Factors to consider include:

The Education You Desire

One of the first things a prospective university student should consider is what they actually want to study – the type of education they need to aid their personal development. This will prevent you from enrolling in courses like Mathematics when you have a background in Languages, and help you identify institutions specializing in your areas of interest, whether it be Business, Medicine, Arts, etc., ideally with a wide range of options that align with your aspirations.

You should verify the authenticity of the university’s claims about its offerings, examine the impact its graduates have on national development, the opportunities it provides both on-campus and externally, its unique infrastructure, student support programs, and available resources to ensure a comprehensive educational experience.

The Attention Given to Your Chosen Field

Even if you opt for a well-reputed university, it’s important to check if your chosen field of study is a contributing factor to its reputation, ensuring that you too will be a desirable candidate for employers upon graduation.

Some universities may focus more on certain disciplines while neglecting others. You should thoroughly research the curriculum of your chosen department, its alignment with national objectives, and the resources the university invests in each subject.

Financial Capability

One of the primary concerns for anyone considering university is the cost of completing their studies and the subsequent return on their investment. Although everyone desires quality education, it’s not practical to overextend yourself financially. In some countries, private universities may be more expensive than public ones, and vice versa. However, the increasing availability of scholarships and flexible payment options are crucial factors to consider.

You should choose a university that aligns with your family’s financial capabilities, taking into account living expenses like housing, food, books, transportation, healthcare, etc.

If you’re studying in a city, expect higher living costs. Experts suggest that students with limited resources should consider universities closer to home.

Balancing Academics with Other Activities

While your primary focus at university should be on your studies, this doesn’t mean neglecting your talents and interests in areas like music or sports. Engaging in these activities not only helps you manage your time effectively but can also shape your future career, as you will be developing your skills alongside your peers.

Courses to Aid in Making the Right Choice

If you’re struggling to decide where to study, there are short courses available that can provide insights into choosing the right university and the basic knowledge you should have beforehand.

High school students should focus on subjects relevant to their future university courses. For example, those aspiring to be doctors should concentrate on Biology and Chemistry.

With the world becoming a global village and the prevalence of multiple languages, language courses can be a valuable addition to your skill set.

Educational experts also recommend consulting with your high school teachers, as their familiarity with your academic history can help guide your university selection process.

Culinary Considerations

Fortunately, in Rwanda, it’s rare to find a place where you can’t find something to eat. However, if you’re planning to study abroad, be aware of the local cuisine, which might be difficult to adapt to, and ensure you can afford it, as food costs can vary significantly.

Visiting the University Before Enrollment

Once you’ve considered all the important factors, it’s advisable to visit the university you’ve chosen. A guided tour can provide detailed information about the institution, helping you make a final decision on whether it’s the right fit for you or if you need to consider other options.

Straight out of Twitter