5 Tips for Choosing a University - and a Few Things to AvoidMarch 20, 2019

In "The Tesseract", one of the street children felt that the world would be more interesting when viewed from a higher perspective. Alex Garland, who penned the novel, wasn't alluding to the Baiyoke Tower II, where the roof deck would offer a 360-degree view of Bangkok. Many (Aussie) backpackers would prefer the Khao San Road, where the other backpackers (from the other parts of the world) meet. This quote could apply to a university, though. Doesn't the shiny buildings and manicured grounds look great from above? The same thing goes from the distance. None of these don't matter to learning, though.

You have learned many things while choosing the right school. The proximity is one thing, whether it's private or public is another. Choosing a university is another thing, and it can take a longer time. You want a good, academic education (like what you get from a private, or public, school), but the requirements of the university present some challenge. It won't be a difficulty if you will tackle it right away. You don't need to be afraid of it, as there are many people who can answer your queries. You should know where to look for answers, but you will deal with it later.

Things You Must Look For, or Ask About

A good university must focus on the student's progress over time. The bulk of the coursework is paper writing, so you must have a routine before the end of the first month. This means that you allot most of your free time to reading, researching, and writing. It would enable you to beat the deadline, fully aware that there's another assignment to do. You must not compare your performance with the others, as you should enjoy what you're doing. It's not a question when you realise that the midpoint of the school year is near or the term is about to end in a month. You would worry about it a little later. The first month or two should be your top priority. If you struggle after two or three weeks, seek help. Know the cause, so you can figure out which opinion would matter most.

Your paper writing must strike a balance between inquiry-based and expletive approaches. The inquiry-based approach deepens understanding and the ability to apply what you read (or learned) while the expletive approach introduces new ideas. If you want to study literature, then this should give you a clear idea on how to critique a novel. For instance, your assignment on science fiction is Arthur C. Clarke's "2001: A Space Odyssey". The British author wrote the novel and the screenplay of Stanley Kubrick's film, where the novel was based from, at the same time. Kubrick didn't think that an original screenplay would be good at all, which might be true during the time of the book's publication (and the film's release). You suspect that it might not be true fifty years later. If you pursue this argument, then remember that it would require hours of (online) research on the history of space exploration, of what might happen in the next century or so. And you must make a bold prediction on the future of space literature. A nice (literary) exercise, which is far from an admissions essay.

Professors must assess their students on a regular basis. It's safe to assume that all universities do it. You might wonder about the set of questionnaires that are given to students at the end of the semester. It would serve another purpose, which should help incoming students taking the same set of modules. The next item has something to do with it.

How about the standardisation of teaching materials and assessment tools? The answer to the question demands an immediate answer within the four walls of the lecture room. Literature students must look forward to new titles that are out in the market, and some might be classics decades later. You can't help but compare it to the titles that have been read and studied countless times. These books won't be called classics, and a literary discussion would be dull without agreeing to disagree.

Professors must give guidance and feedback. You should know after chatting with your admissions tutor.

On the Flipside, Things You Should be Wary Of

You will hear rumors about the class size, of the over emphasis on small-class size. You have seen it during your younger years, and you don’t think that this would apply to universities. You can ask about it. Don’t discount it if it can be a good reason (for looking for another university). This should bring you to the subject of struggling students. What to do with them? It would be foolish to answer the question, as it’s assumed that there won’t be any place for this kind in a university. However, a worry-free university life is a rarity. It shouldn’t give you an excuse to do foolish things, which happen during Freshers Party. Last but not least, this one is for the teenagers aspiring for a B.A. English degree. Phonics (or the lack of it). If you’re one of them, then review it one more time.

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