How to Choose the Right University

As soon as you’re done with your IELTS, your next headache would be zeroing in on the University you’d want to study in. No doubt there are many for you to choose from, but the problem here isn’t the lack of availability; it is actually the problem of plenty here, that we’re talking about. Now that we know the run-up to this stage is one full of investing loads of time, effort and money, you wouldn’t really want to falter at this step and rue it for the rest of your lives.

Choosing a university is no cake-walk. There are several things you need to care of, before you pack your bags and purchase that flight ticket. It’s about shaping your future, so better be careful than crying over spilt milk later. There are certain things that you need to keep in mind before you put your foot forward at this crucial juncture. It could be make or break. The first very important point you’ve got to consider is your own interest. There might be several areas that you would be interested in, but choose the one you want to explore and build your career around. Applications come for a fee, so you might as well be cent percent sure before you buy and fill them up.

It is also extremely important that you put in some amount of research. Look up the degrees that interest you and the various universities offering it. There might be variations in the specialisation, so you’d want to weigh all your options before you take the call. Look up for brochures and websites and be sure that the course you are going for fits the bill properly. Apart from that, you’ve also got to understand how the university you have chosen ranks. Choose reliable ranking sites and understand where the university stands in terms of rankings. This will help you decipher how good or average it is. Depending on what your priorities are, you could take that decision.

While doing this, also research on whether the university offers grants to students. Studying abroad is an expensive affair and if there are some grants, you better make the most of it. This, put together with proper information of area of residence, geographical factors and fee/rent estimation should help you figure out which university is best suited for you.

Now that it’s become easier to identify a college to your liking, it’s also important whether you get through the admission process or not. Remember, your selection of a university is important, but whether they select you or reject you is another factor; a very important one, at that. So, before your application forms are all filled up and ready to be submitted, it is wise that you know what is the eligibility criteria, and what are the fees that you would be able to shell out.

Here are some things that would come in handy for you.

Tier I Very Good Colleges (GRE score: 320+, IELTS 7.0):

Tier I colleges, as the heading itself suggests, constitute the the top 25% of colleges. They are the best ranked colleges and usually come with high fees and higher eligibility criteria.

UniversityTuition FeeTOEFLIELTS
University of Pennsylvania$45,890100+ 7.0
University of Virginia$4483690+7.0
John Hopkins University$45,470100+7.0
Texas A & M College Station$ 38,701100+7.0
Michigan State University$34,796100+7.0

Tier II Good Colleges – (GRE score 310+/ IELTS 6.5):

Tier II universities are the next 25% ranked universities. Together with Tier I, these are known as ‘top schools’, the upper half of all universities.

University of Illinois at Chicago$2638480+6.5
Oklahoma State University$36,32180+6.5
University of Texas – Dallas$30,37880+6.5
University of Utah$24,01880+6.5
Arizona State University$45,35480+6.5

Tier III moderate Colleges  (GRE score 300+/ IELTS 6.0):

The universities that constitute the 51st to 75th ranks come under Tier III colleges. The eligibility criteria is moderate and so are the fees.

Missouri State University$13,38879+6.0
Texas Tech University$19,56279+6.0
Wright State University$21,25879+6.0
University of Toledo$18,17479+6.0
California State University, Sacramento$17,76279+6.0

With this bit of information on how universities in the US work in terms of fees and eligibility criteria, you would have got a sense on the kind of equations you should be looking at. While the quality of education should not be compromised on, your budget plays an important role too. More importantly, whether you are eligible to apply for that college is something you should be aware of. If you have a particular university in mind, please do research on what is its ranking, what kind of money do you need to have and where it is located. Then, based on their requirements (TOEFL/IELTS/GRE scores), you could prepare yourself for these tests and have a target score in your mind clearly set.

It is only a matter of investing some time and energy in trying to have a ‘full package’ knowledge of what you’re getting into. Identifying the right university that fits your bill and one you are eligible for does deserve some of your time. As they say, if you choose wisely, you live well. All the best!

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