Picking a university to go to is tough. Believe me, I know. It’s probably the biggest life decision you’ve made so far, and it can feel really intimidating. Here are five things you should consider when you’re selecting a university to make the process a little less daunting.
The NUMBER ONE thing you should consider when deciding on a university to attend is the program you want to take, or in other words, what you want to major in. This is what you will focus on likely every day for a number of years, so be sure you’ll enjoy it. I knew that Creative Industries was the right fit for me, and since Ryerson is the only university in Canada that offers this program, it made this decision a little bit easier. Remember, the reason you’re going to university is to take a particular program, so it should be the major driving factor in your decision when selecting where to go.
Let’s talk about it: university is not cheap. In fact, it is the opposite of cheap. It’s important to see what you can afford with the finances that you have available to you. This might affect where you go to university, whether you commute to campus or stay on campus in residence. Looking at what scholarships and financial aid options are available at a university can also help you with this factor. Ryerson has a financial aid office and scholarships available to their students—including an entrance scholarship.
The third most important decision you have to make after deciding what you want to study is where you want to study. Do you want to stay in your hometown or go somewhere else? Are you looking to stay in residence or would you prefer to stay at home? Would you like a campus in the city or somewhere with more greenery? I grew up in Ottawa, Ontario but Toronto had been my favourite city for a really long time. Ryerson’s location in downtown Toronto was one of the main reasons I was so interested in going here. I wanted to be close to anything and everything that Toronto has to offer.
4. The experience
University is more than just school! It’s also about spending time on campus, meeting new people and joining clubs. While selecting a university to attend, look at student groups you’d like to join and other ways you can get involved. Think about what else you want from your university experience—independence, confidence, learning new things beyond the lecture hall?
5. Experiential learning opportunities
When I was in high school I did a co-operative education (co-op) placement at a local magazine and it was one of my favourite experiences from high school. It gave me invaluable experience that I’m grateful to have. I knew that because of my co-op experience in high school that I wanted an experiential learning opportunity in university. Luckily, Creative Industries has an internship that I get to complete after my third year. If this is something that interests you, research programs and universities that have this option. For instance, here is a list of co-op programs at Ryerson.
Even though the decision of choosing where to go to university is scary and intimidating, remember that it’s the beginning of a whole new adventure where good things are bound to happen.