When you join a university, your knowledge expands every day. You may learn how to use a washing machine or cook different cuisines. But you will also acquire a new way of thinking, or perhaps how to communicate in a foreign language. Then there are the university’s facilities, such as libraries, cafes and sports clubs that can help to bring you together with your peers and make your time more interesting and fulfilling.
But how does student life differ from institution to institution? Parents looking back at their university days are often astonished at the luxuries that their children enjoy, such as ensuite bathrooms and flatscreen TVs. But these come at a price: students leave college with huge living cost debts that they will pay back over the rest of their lives.
So how can you find a university that will be the best fit for you? One way is to visit campuses in person, but that’s not always possible. Another is to read U-Multirank, which analyses universities across many different criteria and gives you a more accurate picture of what life will be like. This is particularly useful when choosing a university abroad, as you will be unable to tour the campus and see its facilities first-hand.
U-Multirank analyses more than 60 data points to give you a fuller picture of what a university offers. You will get information on everything from the quality of teachers and facilities to its location and cultural diversity. You can also compare tuition fees and the number of students per lecture, and you will be able to see how much extra-curricular activities are offered.
The size of a campus is important, too, because it can affect how easy it is to socialize. Larger institutions can feel crowded and overwhelming, while smaller ones can be friendly and close-knit. It is also worth considering what type of teaching is on offer – for example, some colleges specialise in subjects such as engineering or medicine and have narrow curricula. Others are more generalist, offering a broad range of subjects and allowing students to choose their own majors.
This is why it’s so important to understand what your chosen university has to offer before you sign on the dotted line. For instance, a university situated near a naval port may be the ideal choice for students with seafaring leanings, as is Portsmouth’s University on Portsea Island, the UK’s only island university. Its historic dockyard is home to Lord Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory and has a wealth of maritime history to inspire and educate.
Other universities have cutting-edge research projects, such as the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, which enables scientists to track the movements of stars and other cosmic objects. Such projects will have a direct impact on the world in which we live, from the study of climate change to the development of cancer drugs. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, it is more important than ever for a university to stand out from its competitors and show that it can deliver what today’s students really want.