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How to find the best university in the world

Once you've figured out where your academic interests lie, it’s time to find a good school that matches your needs, and college search engines are a great place to start
BY BrainGain Magazine Staff Writer |   27-09-2016
How to find the best university in the world
(Image by Chase Elliott Clark, used under CC BY 2.0 license)

When you’re applying to study abroad, there’s just no substitute for doing your own research. Sure, you may have the guidance from a competent and reliable counselor, but nobody can understand your educational goals better than you. If you don’t do your own thinking and research, you could end up an academic misfit in a foreign country simply because some unscrupulous agent got paid to recruit you, and you may even end up in a fake university. Unfortunately, these things happen often.

The top-ranked university is not necessarily the best for you. A lot depends on your educational and career goals, how competitive your application is, and on where you can shine (not everyone does well in four months of freezing weather each year).

So how can you find the school that’s best for you? It may feel like you're hunting for a needle in a haystack – for instance, the US alone has more than 4,000 degree-granting institutions. Thankfully, a college search engine not only makes life easier, it also makes your search more thorough. Depending on the search engine, you can look up schools by name, location, area of study, level of study, language (some European universities offer courses in English), how competitive it is, tuition fees, and many other parameters.

You may want to start by making a long list of universities and colleges that look interesting to you, then whittle it down to a short list, and finally pick a few to apply to. For this, you need to be clear about your priorities. For example, if you want to keep your options open to get a Ph.D after completing your master’s, you may want to knock off schools that don’t have a doctoral program. Or you may not want to consider schools that do not offer scholarships for international students at your level. Or you may not want to attend a university with very few international students. Think carefully before crossing universities off your long list.

Do not expect short-listing to be an hour’s work. You may find that you need to review information about each school as you go along. It could take an entire weekend, or several evenings of work. Be patient, and remember that you are investing your time to make the decision that’s best for you. Some search engines make the shortlisting process easier by including helpful data in their search results, such as whether a school is public or private, accreditation status, how many students it has, and what degree programs it offers.

Here are some reliable search engines and information sources to find the best university for you. Good luck!

Country Search engine
Australia Cricos
Studies in Australia
Canada and the US College Board
Peterson’s
France Campus France
Germany German Academic Exchange Service
New Zealand Universities NZ
UK Education UK


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