Top Tips from Students for Choosing a University

By University of Waterloo Modified on September 15, 2020

University students offer suggestions for finding the program that's right for you.

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University students offer suggestions for finding the program that's right for you.

Choosing a university and a program can be a big decision. Studying subjects that interest you makes college and university life a lot easier and definitely more enjoyable.

So, what other factors are important to consider? Miranda, a student ambassador at the University of Waterloo, offers some tips for choosing a university program and questions to think about, such as:

  • What are you interested in?
  • Do you want a co-op program?
  • What programs can you get into with the grades you have?
  • What's it like at each university you're considering?
  • Do you prefer hands-on learning or learning about theories?

Other things to consider include whether you want to move away for university, city size, the number of students on campus, and residence options.

Specializing vs. staying broad

It can definitely be hard to choose with so many options available. Science student Jocelyn offers suggestions for whether to specialize or keep your studies broad. Flexible programs such as Honours Arts or Honours Science allow you to study a broad range of subjects. Highly specialized programs, such as International Development or Geological Engineering let you focus on a particular area of interest.

Attending university events is one of the best ways to learn about different schools and your programs of interest. While many events and tours have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some universities are starting to offer limited campus tours so that you can visit before you need to apply or accept an offer of admission.

Staying connected

Most universities are also offering online information sessions this fall where you can learn about programs and student life. You can usually find these on the "future students" or "admissions" sections of university websites. If you miss a live event, recordings may be available on the university's website so you can watch any time you want. Plus, you can pause to take breaks and definitely won't get lost on campus!

Other resources to look for include virtual campus tours and university accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube. University social media can be particularly helpful because it's active year-round and students are often the ones posting.

Each university has its own share of unique teams and clubs. These are often listed under the student life section of university websites. Joining a club or a team can be a great way to build relationships and make new friends. Most schools have clubs listed online, and if you don't find what you want, you can start your own!

No matter how you choose to research university programs, know that staff and current students are always willing to answer your questions or point you in the right direction. If you have a question, don't hesitate to contact a particular university. If you don't know what you need to know, start by checking out this article about what to ask before you apply.

With these starting tips, we wish you good luck as you continue with your college or university search!


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