Continuing on the University theme, here is this week’s Tips For Tuesdays!
There are a lot of things to consider before applying to university and committing to a course. I thought I’d give you a little checklist of things to remember to look into before finalising your application.
1. Check All The Extras
Check out anything extra you need to add to your application. In South Africa you need to write the NBT’s or National Bench Mark Tests before you apply (or at least have applied to write), and in some countries you need to write something that will show your proficiency in English, or basic knowledge. Make sure you know if you need to write something like this, so that you don’t end up rushing around later to try and fit it in. Also, check out any other documentation you might need to attach to your application, and get it all scanned and photocopied – it’s always worth having several copies as a back up.
2. Do Your Research
Don’t limit yourself to universities just because of friends who go there, or because of how close they are to where you live – or how far away. Look up the kind of courses you want to do, and look at all the similar courses as well – it’s worth also looking into the subjects you will be taking and if they are the sort of thing that you think you will enjoy, and be able to actually sit through for several years. Read university websites, pamphlets and prospectuses to try and get an idea of which could work best for you.
3. Go To All The Open Days
Open days are another way to get a feel for a university. I am lucky enough to live in a student town, but even so I haven’t seen all of the university. Going to an open day can give you an insight into how the university works, what other things there are to offer at the university besides just the classes. Open days can also give the opportunity to meet current students…
4. Speak To Enrolled Students
And current students can give you valuable insights into the university that you won’t find out just from reading brochures. They are the ones who have been to the classes, met the lecturers, used the study halls, bought the text books and they know what you should and shouldn’t do. I’ve spent a long time chatting to people who already go to Stellenbosch University, because I wanted recommendations on classes to take. I learned little things that aren’t always stated on websites – like how taking APL English includes getting a TEFL certificate, which is something that I was always interested in getting anyway. It’s the little bits of information that can make a real difference in taking, or not taking, a course.
5. See Where It Can Take You
You need to look at where your course can take you. This sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget to look at what you are going to do after university has finished. You need to know what Honours programmes are available, what job fields you can go into and whether you can do what you hope to achieve. Don’t pick a course or subject just because it sounds cool at the time if it can’t get you anywhere in life – and also make sure it’s realistic to your abilities, you have to pass your tests to get a degree.
Now I’ll stop preaching about being sensible, and remind you that university is also supposed to be some of the best years of your life. Don’t compromise your studies for fun, but don’t forget about it altogether. University is fun – there are student organisations, sports rivalries, student discounts, late nights, ridiculous amounts of exams and also some incredible friends to be made.
I can’t wait to start university, in case you haven’t guessed by my raving about it all the time!
Are any of you applying to university this year? Or do you have any more recommendations to add to this list? Let me know in the comments!