Coming out of college? or foundation studies? A common question for any youth is.
What should I study?
So what should I pick?
Choosing a University
Choosing a right university can be daunting. A few things that comes to mind that you need to consider is:
1. Reputation of the University
2. Fundings the University has
3. Location of the University
4. University Industrial Partners
The above has different orders of priority depending on what YOU want to do. Are you a person that chooses the course as depending on your personal habits/hobbies. Or are you a person who wants to have a good stable job that has good career advancements. Or finally, you want to make loads of money and retire early.
In life, the above are some questions you should ask yourself. A high percentage of students who study overseas would normally stay in the country of study after they graduate. So a good question is where do you see yourself working in? Do you like a multicultural urban city or a sub urban tech/business development park. This then determines the location of the university.
Industrial partners / fundings and reputation pretty much fall side by side and these are the points one should really investigate when choosing a university. Rankings is one of the factors, but not entirely. Some universitys are very well known but hover in the upper mid range rankings while some universites which you never heard of might be in the top 3.
Finally industrial partners and fundings. I cannot stress the importance of this. Industries and governments do alot of studies and analysis (and most of times on undisclosed circumstances) to investigate on how well the universities are doing. If they invest alot in a University, bingo. there must be a reason.
Ahh . you might say.. what about the teaching quality, standard of teaching.. yada yada. I have to let some light shine on you. What you learn from the university is experience of studying, not the quality. You have to continue to upgrade yourself throughout your lifetime! Not only when you are at school. From the Uni, there is a chance for you to establish your contacts and connect to various industrial partners. (This is the primary purpose of the premium fees you pay to an institution.) The rest is reputation.
The rule of thumb here is. If a course/insitution is wellknown(positively in medias). School is funded very well for research. Go for it. 85% of the time, its ranking will grow to be top eventually (if not currently). Go for it.
Best of luck with Uni hunting.
Following Institutions are very well known locally and world-wide. These are based on a survey which asked a list of schools people have heard of or are reliably comfortable with. Without perference of order:
- Cambridge University – Cambridge, UK
- Oxford University – Oxford, UK
- University College London – London
- Imperial University – London
- National University of Singapore – Singapore
- NTU Nanyang Technological University – Singapore
- Peking University – China
- TsingHua University – China
- Carnegie Mellon
- Princeton University
- Harvard University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- University of California Los Angeles
There are various ranking companies or organisations all over the world. How they work is very subjective and sometimes, it does not fit the “taste” to individual needs. For example, business newspapers would rate according to business standards, research based publications would rate according to fundings and so on for other subjective relations, which will prioritise to their needs.
So how should they work?
There is no definate answer, however from experience, it would ultimately be dependant on reputation. Rankings should be done based on strengths and weaknesses of every sector the institution has, be it technology, science, humanities etc. However world rankings should be done on overall fundings(wealth of school), international awards, number of scientic breakthroughs, industrial partnerships, and positive world media coverage. In UK, RAE school ranking uses a model that is very close to what is described above, the only missing factor is media coverage and industrial partners.
Teaching standard, I need to emphasize, is not an issue at all. Refer to the article, choosing a right university. 85% of the time, skills learned from institutions DO NOT directly impact the life time of your career. Institutions only equip one with the most basic set of skills and future developments are done from self-learning, research. And this, we can acknowlegde, ALL institutions do that very well to the extent that the difference is marginal.
- (G) – Government
- (O) – Independant Non-Profit Organisation
- (C) – Corporate Ranking Companies / Media
- Guardian News – http://education.guardian.co.uk World (C)
- TimesHigherEducation – http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/ World (C)
- Webometrics – http://www.webometrics.info/
- RAE – http://www.rae.ac.uk/ (O)(UK)
- British Council – http://www.britishcouncil.org (G)(UK)
- USNEWS – http://www.usnews.com/sections/rankings (C)(USA)