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Home / Higher Education / Select University

How to Select a University

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How to Select a University

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Selecting universities is a very time consuming and important process not only from the admission point of view but also because applying to universities is very expensive by Indian standards. Hence, the number of universities applied to has to be restricted to around 10 or 15 that best match your requirements.

The best university for you may not be the famous ones, but those that offer you your field of study as well as meet the other criteria important to you. The range of academic options as well as available universities are so wide that it is not possible to select the best in one go and it may take some time.

Steps to Select Any University


The following are the basic steps involved in the process of selecting universities are :

Self Evaluation (Level-I):


The first step is identifying your goals and needs which can be done by self evaluation.
  1. Identify your reasons for pursuing higher education abroad
    • Are you motivated by career goals, job prospects, academic interest, personal satisfaction?
    • What particular specialization are you interested in?

    It is important to match your objectives with what the universities offer. If your aim is research in some particular field, you should apply to universities with specialized departments in that field. If you are interested in practical experience, you should apply to universities located close to the commercial centers and important cities.

  2. Realistically assess your academic and professional background
    • Are you a competitive student?
    • Are you dedicated and hardworking?
    • How good is your academic record?
    • Do you have any work experience or research work related to your field of study?
    • Do you have any credentials in extracurricular activities?

    Only if you have a good academic background, you should apply to highly ranked universities. If you feel you are moderately placed, you should apply to mid ranked universities.

  3. Get an academic focus
    • Do you have a relatively clear idea of your field of study?
    • Have you spoken to your professors, read journals to know more about your field and other new fields?

    Education abroad is very different from education in India. Most universities abroad have a very flexible system where you can select your courses and focus more on your field of interest. There are also many specialized courses which may suit your needs.

  4. Realistically assess your financial abilities
    • Will you get a financial assistance from the university?
    • Can you or your family finance your education and stay?
    • Do you have an overseas sponsor?
    • Are you eligible for funds from educational trusts?
    The application process itself costs about Rs. 25,000 - Rs. 30,000/- towards examination fees, postage, university application fees etc. Tuition and living expenses are also high and depend on the country you wish to study in. For a visa, you must be able to demonstrate your ability to fund your education and stay abroad.

Level-II
It is best to narrow down your choice to 25 - 30 universities after this stage by looking at the following :
  • Program Offerings (BA, BS, BE, MS, MBA, DA, Ph.D., etc)
  • Specialization, faculty, thrust of the programs
  • University Rankings
  • Program Length
  • Cost -- Tuition, living expenses etc
  • Availability of Financial Assistance to International Students
  • Entrance Requirements (Bachelor degree in same field, work experience etc.)
  • Tests ( SAT, GMAT, TOEFL etc and minimum scores)
  • Accreditation status (Professional accreditation for some programs)
  • Student Profile ( Percentage of international students, average work experience levels, etc)
  • Enrollment -- Total available seats and the size of the school
  • Location ( Country, climate, semi-rural, metropolitan city etc)
  • Facilities -- Library, housing, student associations etc.
  • Type of Institution -- Public or Private
These are the usual criteria. You could prioritize your criteria out of this list and shortlist the number of universities on that basis to about 30. You could further shortlist your choice on basis of specific issues like tuition fees, availability of financial etc.

Here we give some details of most important criteria for selecting universities -- academic eligibility, standardized tests, Grade Point Average and Financial Aid.

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