How To Choose The Right University

University counsellors from Tanglin Trust School, Dover Court International School and St Joseph's Institution International offer expert advice on how to plan for university, where to study, and how being an international student in Singapore is a huge advantage.
How To Choose The Right University
By Carli Allan
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Are you ready to take the route from college to university? While some students begin preparing for university years ahead of time, others may put it off. If you’re a student in your first year of post-16 education, now is the time to start putting your plans for an undergraduate degree into action.

This may be your first experience of an admissions process that is competitive. And it will be the first time that the ultimate responsibility of applying for a place comes down to you. However, it’s really not as daunting as it may sound.

International schools in Singapore are proactive, supportive and experienced in university applications, and most will guide their students through every stage of the process so that nothing is left to chance.

There are many factors that need to be considered when choosing what and where to study. WhichSchoolAdvisor speaks to university counsellors at Tanglin Trust School, Dover Court International School and St Joseph's Institution International to find out the answers to our most frequently asked questions about university.

What are the key points to consider when choosing a university and an undergraduate degree?

Every student’s pathway to university will be different, and it depends on their career aspirations, location, academic performance and personal circumstances. While there’s no generic list of guidelines, students need to look at why are they going to university.

As Tannaz Daver, University Counsellor at St Joseph's Institution International, says: “Students need to consider if their future plans require specific academic preparation to enter a profession, examples being law, medicine or engineering versus a degree where they pursue their academic strengths and interests whilst developing as critical and analytical thinkers and creative problem solvers.”

As well as looking at the minimum entry and subject-specific requirements needed for a degree, students need to look at what they will be learning – and how?

Zoe Williams, Head of Careers & University Counselling at Tanglin Trust School, says:

“Students (and their parents) would need to research how the degree is structured. A good tip would be to examine the second and third-year options and look at the assessment of the course. If you are a student who hates exams, check if there are assessments by coursework or essays rather than a written exam.

“What type(s) of careers do students matriculate to and are there opportunities to build theirs CV whilst they are studying, with internships or study abroad programmes? It is a competitive job market for recent graduates and the more opportunities students get whilst studying the better.”

Another consideration is cost, and how you are going to find your degree. With scholarships becoming more and more common for international students, it’s also worth looking at whether you qualify for scholarship, which can be based on financial need or merit. There’s also the importance of location.

Hani Rahman, Careers and Higher Education Guidance Counsellor at Dover Court International School, says:

“Students should consider overall country and what they are hoping to get. Different countries can have very different styles of teaching and education systems, beyond just cultural differences, so students should do their research and understand if the education style matches them as a learner.

“A big thing students often miss, as well, number of years towards a degree! In some countries, undergraduate degrees can take three years and others it can take four.”

Next: Where to study – which is the best university for you?

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