Questions to Ask Every University you Apply To
This article is part of the series “Choosing a University” which explores the questions and opportunities students encounter when applying to university. This series is produced by the University of Central Asia, now accepting applications for its inaugural cohort of students in September 2016.
Choosing a university is an exciting milestone in every student’s life. The right university can propel your career and education to enormous heights, and you want to make sure you make the best choice for yourself and your future. You will almost certainly need to decide what is most important to you. Doing your homework will certainly pay off.
With this in mind, here are a few questions you should ask every university you consider:
Will I be employable upon graduation?
Too often, universities don’t prepare their students for careers after graduation. You want to choose a school that gives you the opportunity to gain work experience while studying, through various student organisations, research assistantships, and / or summer internships. At the University of Central Asia (UCA) you will complete a formal internship across three summers throughout your time earning a degree. This amounts to almost a year of full-time work experience even before you graduate, placing you far ahead of the competition from fellow graduates.
Has the curriculum been developed by world-class universities from around the world?
You want to choose a university that ensures curriculum is designed to meet global standards, yet is also relevant to the context of your country or the society you live in. UCA’s curriculum is designed for a Central Asian context, in partnership with top international universities.
What will I be learning?
You want to make sure the major you choose is right for you. Think about whether the discipline is one you are interested in and has a number of possible career paths associated with its degree. Majors in an emerging field, like the Computer Science or Earth and Environmental Sciences programmes offered at UCA, are a strategic choice.
How will I be taught?
Some universities focus more on theory than practice. Practice-based curriculum is essential because it gives students the opportunity to gain transferable skills. You want to look for initiatives such as learning projects, case-method teaching, and lab work. These methods are at the heart of the UCA education.
Who will teach me?
Professors are critical facilitators to your learning. It is important that they are well qualified and invested in your success. Look at their expertise and research interests: do they match your own? Professors with PhD’s have received the rigorous training necessary to effectively teach and motivate students to achieve their fullest potential. At UCA, 90 per cent of your faculty will have PhD’s and are dedicated to teaching you.
How well will I know my professors?
A low student to faculty ratio at a university is crucial. At very large universities, professors teach lecture halls of students at one time, and it is rare for them to know students personally. Studies have proven the superior benefits of learning in a small class with a qualified professor who can provide students personalised attention. And knowing your professors makes a huge difference with career guidance, mentorship, academic support, and letters of recommendation. UCA prides itself on the small student to faculty ratio (9:1).
Is the language of instruction English?
In an increasingly global world, mastering the English language allows you to compete at an international level. But there is a difference between simply taking English courses and experiencing a fully immersive learning environment in English. While taking courses in English might help with vocabulary and grammar, being surrounded by English all the time is how you become fluent. This is a distinction worth confirming before committing to a university. UCA’s immersive English and fully residential campus life meets this highest bar for language education.
Other important information such as facilities, cost, location, student life, and residence are equally important. Learn more about how the University of Central Asia measures up to these questions, visit: www.ucentralasia.org/admissions
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