Making choices for a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree has always been rather complicated, especially when there are too many options to consider. In fact, the biggest obstacle standing between you and your ideal study programme abroad is, realistically, having to pick it from the others.
The sheer explosion of opportunities is overwhelming, but you need to start somewhere soon. Here are the most important criteria to consider when choosing your future university to study abroad:
1. Select your desired discipline
So, you have a clue about what you want to study and need to find the place where they will give you the training you want. You might find places that offer some interesting interdisciplinary Bachelor’s or Master’s programmes, or specialisations you may not have thought about.
But, seeing how you will need a job after graduation, you may want to check out some of the most popular disciplines, available in some of the most popular countries, like:
- Study Finance in France
- Economics in Germany
- Public Health in the UK
- Marketing in Spain
- Health Sciences in the US
2. Decide where you’d like to study
Chances are that you’ve already thought about a specific place where you would like to move and study. Even if you don’t know where to start from, you might want to do some research, checking countries, universities, and cities that have the most or all the desired traits, whether it’s the type of study programme, the facilities, the transport, living cost, or weather.
To get you started, here are a few universities we highly recommend:
- Northwestern University, the US
- University College London (UCL), the UK
- University of Toronto, Canada
- KEDGE Business School, France
- RWTH Aachen University, Germany
- The University of Western Australia, Australia
- Zhejiang University, China
Nevertheless, if one of your main criteria is geography, you should try and narrow it down using other pertinent factors, such as career opportunities, financial options or application requirements. If you haven’t thought about researching the location, it may be best to effectively reduce the search to a handful of possibilities. You can always start with:
3. Use the best search engines for international degrees
Given that there are a few huge factors to consider (and many small ones) when deciding what university to enrol in, you should carefully search the ideal option for what you are looking for.
The best way to manage this lengthy and sometimes frustrating process is to use well-informed professional platforms for higher education, ideal for quick web navigation between study options, categories and filters, such as Studyportals' websites:
4. Check the International University Rankings
Another obvious way to look at it is by asking “Which are the best universities?”, but things aren’t as simple as that. There are many diverse ranking systems, created by several organisations that use different metrics to come up with their top university lists.
Whether they measure academic and educational performance, or the teaching environment and the internationality of the institution, the major ranking systems are data-driven hierarchies which outline the competition between major universities worldwide:
- Times Higher Education World University Rankings
- Shanghai University Academic Ranking of World Universities
- QS World University Rankings
- U.S. News Global Universities Rankings
On the other hand, non-official rankings such as the one on Wikipedia can also reflect the perceived impact and reputation of these institutions, among potential students.
5. Research the most affordable degrees
It’s no secret that studying abroad may cost a lot, so you need to pay attention to the overall price of the study programmes available. And this means the tuition fees, especially: there are programmes with low or no tuition fees, as well as some institutions that, for a substantial amount of money, will ensure you the best and most reputable degree you can find.
As cost can sometimes be a deal-breaker, it should be high on your list of variables to consider:
- Tuition fees and living costs in Denmark
- Tuition fees and living costs in the Netherlands
- Tuition fees and living costs in the USA
- Tuition fees and living costs in Australia
- Tuition fees and living costs in the UK
- Tuition fees and living costs in China
6. Find out how others experienced studying abroad
If you have your doubts about experimenting with study programmes and universities that, while matching your other criteria on paper, still seem wrong, you need to see what previous international students, in a similar position, have experienced.
You may find people who have dealt with common cultural shocks, misconceptions, and challenges, or who can give you very specific tips and advice. You can check our student experience articles, or check some we feel are the most fun and representative:
You can also check out the Studyportals Scholarship to get some help on financing your studies abroad.