First of all, allow me to introduce myself! I am Aija, the new marketing intern at Study Advisory. I’m happy to start my internship here in Hong Kong, especially as the Chinese New Year celebration has already begun, and I’m so excited to see what will happen this week!
The start of every year is a time filled with optimism, hopes and aspirations. It is when plans and goals are made. I just met one of my own long time goals – to live in Hong Kong!
I am from Finland and I have travelled a lot around the world. During the years I have done several student exchanges; I have studied in Mexico, South Korea and Germany. I need to admit, it’s pretty crazy to do three student exchanges in less than two years, but for me it was an adventure to meet new people and to get to know about other cultures. As it is my final year studying at university, I wanted to do an internship before graduating, and then I magically found myself in Hong Kong!
So in the spirit of Chinese New Year and the hope of new beginnings, I would like to say a little bit about how to reach your study goals in 2016.
What’s sad is that most people fail to realize their goals. In most cases it is only because goals are not 100% clear and therefore it is difficult to know what actually to do to achieve these goals.
Some might be struggeling to decide where to study. Luckily, Study Advisory was founded to help students make the best possible decisions for possibly the most important decision of their life: knowing what and where to study.
Which university? What to study?
When trying to decide where to go and what to study, it is good to consider the following things. So, grab your pencil and write down the answers to what is important to you when deciding your future study place and career path.
- What am I’m interested in?
- What do I want to study?
- What will I learn?
- Do I have the appropriate grades/ background for it?
- How flexible is the program?
- Do I want to study abroad?
- Do I want to gain work experience while studying?
- Do I want a programme that leads to a specific career or a variety of careers?
- What do I want from the study location?
- What do I want to do while I am not studying?
- What type of institution is best?
- New/ old?
- Vocational orientation/ research-led?
- Campus/ city?
- Big/ small?
- How many students?
- Where do the students come from?
- What is the level of competition among peers?
Most people go to university only once, so it’s important to think broadly about what you want to study and where. Surely, after graduation you want to be able to say, “I enjoyed my time”. It is all about the overall experience – not just top ranking.
What do rankings mean?
There are both official (state sponsored) rankings and are unofficial (newspaper) rankings. Each ranking list uses different definitions, criterias and indicators to measure quality and different weights for each indicator. For this reason, the ranking results are also very different. Have a closer look at the rankings and you may find that the aspects covered by one of the ranking is more important to you than those included by another ranking.
Universities can be ranked very differently on different lists due to the criteria used – not just the characteristics of the school itself. What these lists can provide is a good starting point for researching different universities, and can even help you discover universities you have not even heard of before.
You can use rankings as one of the, rather than just the, source of information to research universities. Just because a university is at the top doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right university for you. Equally, just because a university is towards the bottom doesn’t mean it isn’t right for you.
Every student looks for different criteria in a university. Decide on your priorities up front. The most important things to you could be the content of the course, or the distance of the university from your home, or even the entry requirements or the long-term career possibilities. Create your own list of courses and universities based on these priorities.
In the end, your top 10 list may be completely different from any magazine’s—or even from your best friend’s list. So don’t take the rankings too seriously—the most important question is what university is the right fit for YOU?
As a hint of advice
Do your research, be realistic. Ranking is just a way of measurement. Look at the indicators that matters to you. Think beyond the rankings. Do what you enjoy. If you have studied abroad it shows that you are not afraid of challenges!
From all of us in Study Advisory, we wish a happy Chinese New Year, and we hope that we have helped you plan for achieving your study goals! Go out in the world and face new challenges head-on, grow and discover just how awesome you are!