Choosing a university in one of the biggest decisions many students will have made in their lives. Guiding them as they get started can be daunting - you have the power to shape their entire futures!
And the first step to choosing a university is, of course, thorough, detailed and structured university research.
But for many students, and by association their teachers and guidance counsellors, university research is really hard. There are a number of reasons for this:
- The university marketplace is becoming more globalised, meaning there are more options to choose from, but it’s also hard to know where to start.
- The Internet, whilst being a super-fast and convenient resource, can make university research complicated.
- Whether it’s focusing on university rankings, or choosing a university based on external pressures from parents and families, students may start their research with a few pre-existing biases and misconceptions.
In 2022, choosing a university has become even harder. Though hopefully the world will look very different by the time these students graduate, ongoing restrictions due to COVID-19 can make it difficul to visit universities and get a feel for the campus.
When faced with all these problems, students can feel overwhelmed or disheartened, and may approach university research with very little structure and purpose. This can mean that they don’t always approach the application process with the necessary clarity about why they want to study at a particular institution.
Guidance counsellors and school careers advisers often tell us about their uncertainty when it comes to helping students begin their university research, especially if they already have existing preconceptions, or aren’t very engaged.
That’s why we’ve put together a simple, three-step plan to help your students structure their university research and ask the questions that will lead to more informed decisions when it comes to choosing a university.
These three steps comprise leading questions, designed to help students start thinking about their personal preferences and structure their research as they start shortlisting universities.