10 Things to Consider Before Joining Any University

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Our parents play a huge role in our upbringing, but perhaps something I will avoid doing with my own kids is make decisions for them in instances like this. In as much as it is right to guide my children, I think I will do it with a certain level of restraint – to ensure their views (if they’re good) will always prevail. It is this season when so many of our younger siblings and friends are partaking decisions to join the University and I thought this article would guide them.
Course of Study
Undoubtedly, in your circles you have heard where the best programs are offered. Unfortunately though, you’ll hear that this university is the best in Engineering and blindly take that assertion for the truth. I advise that you make a little research and find out really where your desired course of study can be attained before you make a rushed decision that you will regret later on.
Student to Lecturer Ratio
Like I have discussed above, background research is the most important thing to do before you make a decision on which university you want to go to. Or to break it down, find out on average how many students are admitted to the course and the lecturers available.
Nothing is as depressing as wanting to meet your unit professor but cannot because several hundreds are also looking for him.
Course Flexibility
Unlike high school, university comes with a lot of demands. You may need to take a side job to meet your finances or keep going home to check on the family business because you’re old and your daddy wants you to be responsible, so you may have to consider the flexibility of your course. If I miss a lecture during the day, can I take it in the evening or over the weekend – of course depending on your wishes and constraints.
Quality of Lecturers
Does the university you want to join have highly qualified lecturers or they pick tutors from within unemployed alumni? This was one of the reasons that influenced my choice of university many years ago. My lecturers were so qualified, I knew their names from the news and their publications way back in high school. Even that sort of confidence in your tutors is a push every one deserves.
Accreditation
Perhaps the most important aspect is to review the university’s accreditation. In order to get into graduate or professional school, your undergraduate studies may have to be completed at an accredited institution. After those many years of sleepless nights and readings, your degree may turn out useless once it comes from an unaccredited institution. Most well-known universities in Uganda are accredited but that may not be the case with other at the rate university education is becoming a business, so consider that too.
Student Life
Academics are when choosing a college but so is the other off-study life because man shall not live on bread alone. For the most part, student life begins and ends in residential areas of students. If you want an active student life, you need to live with other students. Look for the schools that have a high percentage of on-campus living if you want an active student life or if not, concentrated in one area of off-campus residence popularly known as hostel areas.
If you want your privacy, you can even commute.
Food Options
I would not advise anyone to go to a university without nearby food serving places. Imagine walking so far to eat that by the time you return, you’re already hungry again.
Consider how food will be accessed while you’re at the university of your choice. Is it scary to walk from your hostel to a restaurant when you get hungry at 9pm? Such are the answers you need before deciding where to go.
Party Life
After an entire decade plus of restrictions, most students want to party when they get to campus and who blames them? As people now say, eat your life and YOLO. If that is your plan for the university, you might as well consider it in your decision making on where to go.
Will you choose an urban based institution or go elsewhere and cover the costs of your party needs in transportation?
Alumni Network
Not to sound against new universities, I strongly believe in alumni networks. You will need people in the job market that have been where you are and done that.
Not just for prestige purposes but inspiration and motivation, internships and who knows – even employment once you’re done.
Our world has become so competitive that the cutting edge has now rounded down to the littlest of things.
If you have the same class degree and qualifications, an employer may just choose to go with their alumnus.
Spirituality
If attending a university that follows your religious beliefs is important to you, research about the interests of your choice of university to determine their level of involvement with students’ spirituality. Some universities require that students sign agreements related to their spirituality and follow some sort of honor code, which might require that students abstain from drinking, ‘wear decently’ and generally live holy lives.
Some however, like the one I chose are liberal and you can even proudly profess atheism without anyone trying to curtail you. So yeah, that should be the last option you consider.
There are many more like levels of involvement in co-curricular activities, application fees, distance from home, and so many other you may consider but this should be a starting point.