How to choose a university in Australia
Suggested university selection criteria
- Should I apply to a uni with lower entrance admission requirements or famous one?
- Which universities have less strict admission requirements ?
- Which university is best for the course I wish to apply to ?
- What criteria do I need to make an informed decision instead of a whimsical one?
- Which course or degree should I select ? ie. How to pick a degree course subject ?
Tertiary education in Australia is primarily provided by 39 Australian universities across Australia offering a wide range of bachelor, undergraduate, post grad, graduate diploma, master and doctoral / Ph.D and research courses. Australian students have an excellent choice of places and colleges to study at for university education.
Which University to go to?
Do future university students choose a particular Australian universities for the right reasons? Many Aussie secondary school counsellors, career advisers, students and parents overstate the importance on the perceived reputation or rank of a university. Many are blindly fixated about applying to the ‘” top university ” for a specific subject or the best degree program available, when in reality in most cases, such reputation has little effect on one’s employablity in the Australian job market. In fact the top ranking or “best” reputation of any particular degree or university is often arbitrary and based on controversial or debate criteria. Any Employment Recruiter specializing in helping Australian graduates find employment in Australia will concur. Most Australian employers are just not fussed as to which Australian universities a job applicant graduates from. What matters most is that you passed with a degree from one of the many Australian universities or colleges or TAFE institutions scattered across Australia.
What employers look for at an interview :
- if you have a well structured resume / CV that highlights your skills clearly and succinctly
- if you present well at an interview ie. friendly, confident, approachable, responsive
- demonstrate people skills
- demonstrated good work ethic
- if you communicate clearly and in good English
- demonstrated “can do” attitude
- have good character and personality
- if you have a suitable bachelor or undergraduate degree qualifications
- have reasonable grades at University
Most teachers and parents worry unnecessarily about their a student’s need to gain admission to the “ best universities”. Know this, all universities in Australia are regulated and monitored by the government. Whilst funding, equipment & facilities and calibre of teaching varies, it remains all such providers of tertiary education are good enough to be recognized and accepted by the Australian Government, regardless if it is recognized by any foreign government especially that of the home country for overseas students. Ranking is often based on political and bureaucratic reasons, less so on merit and most employers don’t care about this. You may have heard someone tell you such and such a Australian university has a high rank in global university ranking of the world etc. A few of these ranking surveys are indirectly funded by private companies with vested interest. Furthermore, the rankings are not consistent across surveys. Many are based on highly debatable or subjective criteria that have little direct impact on teaching quality or whether you will get a job when you graduate. It is up to you to decide if these comparisons are relevant or accurate at all to getting a great education in an Australian University that is not famous.
Eg. A university that has :
- more professors from overseas
- more place for international students
- more professors who have published papers
- more Nobel or Field prize winners
- better reviews by CEO’s of select companies
…. may get a higher ranking, depending on which of the many surveys you are looking at. What has this got to do with teaching quality ? In my opinion, not much . Such rankings are not scientific or objective and are only partially relying on objective, relevant and measurable factors such as financial funding, teacher-student ratio and graduate employment rates. It is a case of comparing apples and oranges.
A list of articles about problems of ranking ”top” or ‘best’ universities and its REAL education significance ( or lack of ) :-
- Criticism of college and university rankings
- University rankings
- College and University rankings
- University rankings don’t measure up
- World rankings of universities are worthless, argues Malcolm Grant,
My personal university selection criteria is :
- Does this Australian university offer the degree- subject I wish to study?
- Which university is the easiest (lowest cut off ) to get into for Engineering, Accounting, Law, Medicine, Computer science etc given my not-so-high ATAR or secondary school grades?
- Do I have a better chance of gaining admission at a famous university or a lesser known one with lower cutoff ?
- Will my high school grades be sufficient for me to gain admission here ?
- ( “Famous” universities are harder to get in as more people apply for fewer places, so the cutoff point is higher. It does not necessarily mean the education quality is necessarily superior at famous universities)
- Is it a 3 or 4 year degree program ?
- Is this uni located in a big or small city ?
- Is this university in the warm or cold part of Australia?
- Is this univ near a beach or a desert?
- Does the university have it’s own campus or is it scattered across the city?
- Do I plan on having a part time job while studying at univ ?
( Such jobs are easier to find in bigger cities )
- Do I wish to go to a big city university in Australia where there may be 20-25% foreign students or a country side university where there are less foreign students, as this will give me a better chance to mix with the locals?
- Have you spoken to anyone who might have studied or is studying at any universities recently, especially in the degree of interest?
- How far is this university away from my home or place of dwelling?
( Do I need to fly, train or bus to see mom ? I’m thinking about my laundry !)
To see more Australian university degree courses, have a look here