Choosing Your University

When it comes to choosing your university, the place you will be spending some of the most important and exciting years of your life, the endless options available can make this decision feel almost impossible to make. Because each university offers such a uniquely rounded experience, it is important to do your research, and trust which university really resonates with you. Maybe you are lucky enough to be one of those people who have always known exactly where they want to go to school, or, perhaps you are like me and had absolutely no idea where to begin looking. Unfortunately, for those of us who are clueless as to what we are looking for, there is no plain and simple way to know where the right university may be, and if we will end up choosing somewhere that can meet or exceed our expectations.

An effective approach to ease this decision requires breaking down each aspect of university to examine yourself beside the different universities in the top areas concerning most students. Getting in touch with current or former students, attending local university recruiting events, reading view books, and searching through details on university websites, are some of the best ways to get accurate info about different universities. To help get a better understanding of what is important to you, look through the following list and write down what you are looking for in your university experience. After you do the research necessary to understand the dynamics of each university, it can be easier to see exactly where will be the best fit for you!

Choosing Your University Location

Choosing Your University
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Although the geographical place you are learning in may not seem as important as the quality of education itself, the diversity in locations will be a major contributing factor to your overall learning experience. It is important to realize that where you go to university is where you will most likely create that new feeling of comfort where you will form life long friends, and future business networks and job opportunities. Others may see relocating at this time as an opportunity to travel and live in a destination you may not otherwise have the opportunity to live again, which can be fun if you are looking for adventure. If you are more comfortable being in a familiar environment where you already know you have people to count on, don’t force yourself to leave your family and friends during this transition, if you feel the need to have a strong support system nearby. After you know how independent you are willing to be, you can look at the different pros and cons of different locations such as climate, culture, landscape, and population size.


Going in to university, everyone has a unique financial situation to consider, to ensure making the best possible decision when investing in your future. Comparing all living expenses, including transportation, housing, food, and extras, as well as tuition and book fees, is a great place to start to find a balance between your wish list, and what you will be able to afford. If particular areas of school are more important to you such as being in the location you want, or living in a newer residence, spending more money to get more out of your experience may be worth it. If you are fortunate enough for finances not to govern your decision, have fun exploring the possibilities available to you and do not limit your options. Regardless of what your financial situation may be, take advantage of the amazing scholarship opportunities available to all students pursing post secondary education.

Programs & Courses:

The majority of universities offer a wide variety of courses, all which will allow you to explore and expand your skills and abilities, allowing you to grow as an individual. When looking at courses and programs offered at different universities, remember that although the course may have a similar name, the learning style and course content will vary immensely. If you want to be extremely specific, you can easily research certain professors, courses, and content offered in your faculty. Although it is impossible to know exactly what you are in for until you are sitting in class listening to a lecture, it doesn’t hurt to look into these areas now, to help get the most out of your classes. Certain schools will specialize in different areas, which may be important to consider for those who are looking into career focused education. Considering extracurricular programs, such as the sports teams and volunteering opportunities different schools offer are also very important for those who plan to get involved in the campus community and make this a significant part of their learning experience.

Campus Environment:

For detail oriented people, the quality of a living and learning atmosphere can have a silent impact on one’s general mood and frame of mind. Whether or not you are the type of person who is affected strongly by your physical surroundings such as your room and living environment is important to consider, and should not go unconsidered when choosing your campus. Universities are continuously expanding bringing new buildings, research opportunities and technology forward, some more progressively than others. Whether you admire the history of the older campuses, prefer the expansion other universities focus on, would like to be in the middle of a city, or in a more peaceful secluded environment, will help narrow down your options
Looking this deeply into each area takes time and patience, but will definitely pay off in the long run after you know what you are looking for. Give yourself plenty of time to do the research and try not to over think too many details at once the way I did. Although these factors will play a certain degree of importance in determining your university experience, with the right attitude you can have an amazing time at anywhere! Ultimately, you are the only one who will be living with this decision, so be sure you are truly doing what feels best for you and that you are excited about your final choice.

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Wow. I never considered most of these. I just always assumed I would go to State U. I hadn’t a clue about what studies I wanted to do and since Mom and Dad paid, I didn’t want to incur out of state tuition (I know they scrimped and saved for years to send us kids).

I was one of those very lucky people who did know exactly where she wanted to go to college, basically from the time I was eight years old (we can thank Christian Laettner for that). My husband, on the other hand, just went where the winds (and football scholarships) took him. I think your point about physical location is often overlooked – if you never plan to leave the state, a state university makes perfect sense. If you want to work abroad or in a major market, you may want a university with more name-brand recognition and a wider alumni… Read more »

11 years ago

It’s always great to see parents give their kids a jump start on their education. It’s really such a valuable gift to give!

11 years ago

Yay Christian Laettner!! How cool is it that he was on the original Dream Team (so random considering his eventual NBA career). Did you meet your hubby at Duke? I can’t imagine what being a Duke football player would be like in terms of living in a shadow…

11 years ago

So many things are different now than 30 years ago when I was in college. For one, the cost of tuition is insane (at least in the US). While I didn’t consider the physical location, I was fortunate to have attended a college in the mountains of North Carolina (where it was beautiful).

11 years ago
Reply to  Thad P

Canadians have no idea how much better we have it than many USA students. I wish someone would tell the students in California or NY that we have students striking over 3K-a-year tuition. They would probably cry. I’m glad you appreciated your campus.

11 years ago

I understand you’re Canadian so things are phrased a little differently there, but for your US readers I think the first thing to consider is whether to attend a college or university. As in, do you want to attend an institution where you are the most important people on campus and the professors are there to teach and mentor you or do you want to be playing third or fourth fiddle to the research objectives of the professors, who are much more concerned with grant-writing, running their labs, and their grad students and postdocs than with teaching you?

11 years ago

Hey Emily, thanks for chipping in. I understand where you’re coming from with that College vs University thing in the USA. At the same time, you can’t deny the correlation between a degree from a top American university and a well-paying job.

11 years ago
Reply to 

Now that’s an interesting way to measure your university’s street cred! Wouldn’t the ROI on a degree be far more dependant on what field it is in?

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