So with all the thousands of further education options around the world how do you begin your decision-making process?
Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- What cultural environment do I feel comfortable in?
- Do I want to be in a different environment or a similar environment to the one I am in now?
- Which language do I enjoy speaking or want to learn?
- How far away do I want to be from “home”?
- Do I want to be close to my extended family and/or friends?
- Do I want to be in a cosmopolitan city, in a large town or in the countryside?
- What environment do I prefer? Urban, suburban, coastline, mountains, forest, desert?
- Do I prefer cold or hot or temperate climates?
Then ask yourself these questions:
- What size university/college do I want to be in? 10, 000+; 5,000-10,000; 1,000 – 5,000; 100 – 1,000?
- Do I want to be in a university/college with post-graduate as well as under-graduate students or just an under-grad institution?
- Do I need a specialist college such as an Arts or Performance college?
- What facilities am I looking for in a university/college and/or faculty/school?
- What size faculty/school I am looking for? One where I am on first-name terms with faculty or one where I do not have direct/personal contact with faculty?
- What size class/lectures/labs/workshops am I looking for?
- Do I want opportunities for a sandwich/industrial/work placement year?
- Do I want opportunities for a Study Abroad year?
- Do I need to earn money whilst studying?
- What scholarships/co-op/work opportunities might I need?
As well as:
- Do I want to be on a campus university/college where I live and study in one place or in a university/college where I need to travel to the campus from my accommodation?
- If I live off campus, how much extra would it cost to travel to the campus?
- Do I want the university/college to provide purpose built-student accommodation or do I want to find my own accommodation?
- Is it possible to have a meal plan with my accommodation or do I need to be self-sufficient?
- What clubs and societies am I interested in?
- What sporting/performance/social facilities would I like to use?
- What support/facilities for special assistance do I need?
- What other support services such as a health service, counseling service, careers service would I like to have access to?
- How close to the nearest airport/ferry dock/train station do I need to be?
You will need to constantly explore all these questions (and many more) over the next few years (or months) as you begin the process of choosing your post-high school path. Maybe you have had other family members go through the process before you – begin by asking them how they started. And remember that you are not alone; your friends will be going through the process alongside you. Create a research group and share ideas with each other. The more you know, the more informed your eventual decision.