Choosing a university can feel like a monumental decision, so focus on some key factors to help guide your research and evaluation process.
What do I want to study?
You want to choose a school with a program that suits your interests. Think about what subjects you enjoy studying or learning about and how you want to apply them. If you haven’t decided on a specific subject or major, it’s important to understand the types of programs a school offers and how easy it is to transfer between them if you change your mind later.
Do I want to live away from home?
University may be the first opportunity you have to live on your own. If you’re exploring options outside the province, or even outside the country, consider how you’ll feel being away from family, friends and a familiar environment. Make sure you feel comfortable with the idea of being a flight away from home and not being able to easily go home on the weekends or short breaks.
How do I spend my free time?
University offers a wide range of ways to get involved. Extracurricular activities are a great opportunity to meet other students and find new interests. Whether you join an intramural sports team or student government, explore a special interest club or volunteer for a cause, trying new things or expanding on your current passions will add an extra dimension to your post-secondary experience.
How do I like to socialize?
While academics will be your primary focus at university, there’s also a lot of your post-secondary experience that will happen outside the classroom. If you’re envisioning hanging out on campus with other students after class ends for the day and attending sports games and on-campus events, search out schools that have strong school spirit and an engaged student body. You will be spending a lot of time on your school campus, so be sure it’s an environment you’ll enjoy.
What’s my preferred living arrangement?
Many first-year students prefer to live on campus so they can take advantage of all the available services and amenities. Understand what types of housing arrangements are available for students, particularly first-year students, and what’s included with each type of living arrangement. If you’re living on campus, you’ll likely be sharing common spaces with other students. Determine your ideal living arrangement and evaluate your options from there.
What can I put into practice?
Learning how your degree translates into a career is one of the biggest advantages you gain from internship or co-op opportunities. Evaluating a school’s work placement options alongside its curriculum will give you the best insight into how a school prepares its students for graduation and life after post-secondary. Pay close attention to the level of support the school offers with finding and securing job opportunities, such as help with drafting a résumé or practicing interview skills.
Where do I thrive?
Some university campuses are in the heart of a big city or are close to a large urban sprawl, while others are nestled into more rural areas. Think about how you’ll feel being in an urban versus more rural area through fall, winter and spring seasons, and whether you’ll be content to remain mainly on the campus or get out and explore. If you want to leave the campus, will you need access to a car or is public transportation a realistic option?
Not sure how many schools to apply to? We can help with that. Need help making your list? Our educational consultants are experts at helping you tackle the post-secondary exploration process in manageable steps.