How to Choose the Right University or College - Tips and Factors to Consider as an International Student


Samarpita Goswami
Updated on May 24, 2023 02:02 PM IST

It is a very important decision to put all your money and efforts into the college or university of your dreams. Here are some important factors and tips to choose the right university abroad for international students.

How to Choose the Right University or College - Tips and Factors to Consider as an International Student

Over the past few years, there has been a steady rise in the number of Indian students applying to institutions all over the world. Institutions abroad received a record number of applications—even during the previous two years, which were meant to be the pandemic's peak years.

It has never been so easy to choose the best university abroad; this is by no means an effortless choice. When deciding on this critical educational choice, students must take a planned and pragmatic perspective.

‘How to Choose the Right University for Studying Abroad?’ can turn out to be a daunting question for many international aspirants. The vast opportunities out there can be overwhelming, but knowing 'how' to pick the right university is the best way to start. Before you move ahead with researching universities to study abroad, take a look at the various factors that will affect your decision.

Another question that students often ask themselves is, does the ranking give weightage to the factors important to them for studying in a particular university? Most of the time, the answer to this question is 'no'. You need to tread carefully while shortlisting schools only on the basis of a ranking. Although rankings may help you narrow down your list of ideal schools abroad, they might not be the best way for you. 

One particular factor that can affect the selection of schools is the weather. For instance, if you are planning on applying to schools located in areas where the winters are harsh, then you might face difficulties there. Let us now simplify this process for you by showing you a number of factors and tips on how to choose your university abroad.

Tips to Choose the Right University for Studying Abroad

It is important to remember that only rankings do not mean that a school is the best for a particular course or discipline. Every student has their own expectations when it comes to college. As a result, choosing the right college can be influenced by many factors. Consider the following tips while choosing the college to study abroad:

Conduct Research Prior to Applying to College: Doing so will allow you to gather enough information to make an informed decision and not regret it four years down the line.

Do Comprehensive Research on Various Countries and Regions: It will help you identify the best option for you. Be it in terms of the cost of studying, immigration policies or admission policies, identifying a suitable country is certainly going to affect your transition to a completely new country. 

Take the Help of Study Abroad Experts: Ask about the programmes and courses that interest you. Have your queries clarified by study abroad experts available online.

Consult Other Students Who Have Studied Abroad: Talk to other students who have studied abroad to get their thoughts on what they did and what they think about studying in different countries.

Make a List of Goals: A good list of goals will help you select the right college to study abroad. It should also include the level of education and the duration of your stay.

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What Differentiates Good Universities from the Best?

Some universities are considered as good while some are considered best. So how students are supposed to categorise and determine which universities are considered as best while the rest are labelled as good? One might find it difficult to separate the chaff from the wheat. Similarly, finding out the best university for themselves is an extremely subjective agenda which students have to undergo. Students must not go by word of mouth but proper and extensive research should be undertaken to determine which is the best university that aligns with their thoughts, ambitions, career choices, curriculum, etc. 

However, if analysed objectively several factors can be considered while differentiating good universities from the best and that includes class size, campus life, location, gender distribution, class location, safety, teachers, research opportunities, course structure, results, graduation rate, return on investment and others. The different factors that differentiate good universities from the best are explained below:

Good Return on Investment (ROI): Return on investment is the cost of the degree to be deducted from the total earnings. Students can check out the websites of colleges and contact the alumni network to understand whether the ROI is good and whether the university will be the best option for them. The colleges with the highest earning potential can be considered as best from the perspective of career.

Graduation Rate: Besides ROI, the graduation rate of a college is also a determining factor that separates the best colleges from good ones. The best colleges generally have higher graduation rates of about 85 to 95 per cent. 

University Rankings: Several ranking institutions rank universities through various parameters and make a list which helps students in taking decisions regarding the best universities and good universities. However, students are advised not to come to conclusions based on the rankings and to do extensive research before finalising the universities. They should not only hanker after the top universities to study abroad but also make some safe choices. 

Academic Infrastructure: The academic infrastructure of universities determines whether they are the best choices or good choices. There are several variations in teaching qualities that one receives at different universities. Every university has different expectations from students and styles of teaching which are evident from the workload of the university. Besides, universities are not there to impart didactic teaching to students, they also have to involve in research roles so that they can further the boundaries of knowledge.

Factors to Consider While Choosing a University Abroad

Depending on the institution of choice and the length of the full-time programme, attending college and pursuing a degree overseas can take anywhere from one to four years, and it will undoubtedly be hefty. This is sometimes viewed as a time-consuming and exhausting activity to undertake because of the vast number of colleges that provide multiple course alternatives for students to select from. Hence, given below are some of the most important factors that you should consider while choosing the right university or college to study abroad:

Courses That Interest You

Before you decide to study abroad, it is important to know the type of course that fits your interests and budget. This is also the first step in how to choose your university abroad. Knowing the programme or course that you are interested in is also the first step in choosing the right college. After doing so, you should also learn about the country where you want to study. For instance, STEM courses in the USA are quite popular among students looking forward to studying abroad. 

Students can also learn about the programmes and the facilities of the schools by visiting the official websites. List down all the details about the country and course that you are interested in and contact the school or university through email or phone number. 

Once you have a good idea about what you want to study, only then should you find the right place. You probably already know what type of training you want to get, and there are many places that can provide it. Some of these include master's and bachelor's programmes.

Decide Your Desired Location

If you already know where you want to go, then it is time to start looking for the right place. Before you start, make sure that the place has the facilities and the ideal conditions for study. Some of the popular study destinations are Canada, the USA, the UK, and Germany. 

If geography is your main criterion, then it should not be ignored. Instead, try and narrow it down using other factors such as career opportunities and financial options. If you haven’t considered the location yet, then it may be best to start with a few options.

Faculties and Research Opportunities

Studying at universities with advanced laboratory facilities may be a game-changer for your profile. Check if the shortlisted university and programme have an organised faculty that can provide you with expert knowledge and research opportunities. Working on a research project will help you develop and improve your skills and enhance your profile making you more employable. Check for teaching assistantship programmes and apply for them as soon as you finalise your university. Do not forget to follow the works of professors in your intended department os study.

Cost and Scholarships

Most universities and colleges abroad offer foreign scholarships or financial aid programmes to help students with their expenses. Doing so is very important when it comes to studying abroad. There are various ways to apply for financial aid such as scholarship committees, education loans, and online. You can also apply for aid through various websites such as scholarship committees or bank loans.

It is very important to look for the best deal when it comes to studying abroad. Doing so will help you avoid costly mistakes and find programmes that are both well-known and reputable.

Acceptance and Eligibility

Before you apply for a course, make sure that you thoroughly check the various requirements and documents related to the programme and the university. Since most of the courses abroad are delivered in English, students are required to take an English proficiency test such as the TOEFL, PTE Academic, IELTS Academic, or Duolingo English Test (DET) before they can apply for the programme.

In addition to this, students must also check the acceptance rate of the universities. For instance, USA Universities with the highest acceptance rate generally possess more chances of your admission. 

Campus and Rankings

A simple way to look at it is by asking which are the best universities. There are many different ranking systems out there, each of which has its own unique characteristics. A student should also be aware of the other facilities and activities that are available at their chosen university.

Activities outside of the realm of university education include debate clubs, drama clubs, music bands, and student councils. These types of activities improve a student's communication skills and personality. They also provide them with an opportunity to explore different cultures. Some of the popular ranking accreditations are QS World Rankings, THE Rankings, and more. 

Placements and Jobs

Before committing to a college, it is important that the student has a clear idea about the various career options available to him or her upon graduation. By carefully analysing the various placements and jobs, students can make an informed decision. A college with a higher number of placements is more likely to provide the best possible education and employment opportunities for the student.


If you are worried about the quality of your studies and the placement opportunities, then it is important to follow in the footsteps of previous international students. There are many cultural experts who can help you navigate through the various challenges and opportunities that are presented to international students. They can also provide specific advice and tips.

How to Choose Bachelor's College Abroad

It should come as no surprise that the enticement of studying abroad has continually increased in recent years, particularly for undergraduate and specialised degrees. This is because of a high standard of instruction, competent instructors, and the availability of economic opportunities. In today's environment, an applicant with an edge often happens to recognise themselves as international citizen and has a comprehensive understanding of the global economy. Here is a five-step approach or tips to choose the best bachelor’s college abroad.

Step #1 Get to Know Which Course Interests You the Most

This procedure may be challenging at first until a student is certain of the type of programme they want to pursue. For every study abroad aspirant, the first step is to choose an academic programme that interests them the most. 

Considering a student has picked a course after doing significant research, it is only sensible to recognise the scope of the programme in the same nation for post-graduation opportunities. As they look for internships or projects in their chosen field of study during their academic years, students should also consider the current opportunities for acquiring practical experience through their chosen academic course.

Step #2 Course Curriculum of Your Chosen Academic Programme

This is yet another crucial factor in choosing the right university abroad that students should attend based on their interests. Students should be foolproof about which programme they desire to pursue before selecting universities that provide it. To be certain, students should review the obtainable curricula on the university's official website.

Students should always consider unbiased institution and course rankings to understand where their top-choice university stands. Further, they might additionally take part in online forums and connect with student counsellors who may provide them with more details on the same subject.

Step #3 Budget

Determining the precise amount of funds needed as tuition fees for a specific programme of study is another crucial factor in choosing the best university to study abroad. The majority of college official websites give a thorough breakdown of the annual tuition amount needed for the enrollment of international students. Further, it is advisable that students only should choose universities that meet their financial capabilities.

For further financial relief, academically gifted students may choose from a variety of international scholarships and awards listed on the official institution's websites. A prospective student must select a university that offers the best return on investment (ROI).

Step #4 Location of the College/ University

This is an essential aspect because your budget will also include living expenses that are directly related to the geographical region or area you choose. Before deciding on an area, scholars must consider the place of residence, safety, environment, and availability of transit as these factors will impact them every day of their lives. 

A further crucial factor is the climate or weather, as particularly cold regions could make life very challenging for Indian students visiting for the first time because most of India enjoys year-round tropical climates. While deciding on the place of residence of your selected institution overseas, you must weigh safety and security, easy visa processing, and length of stay once your educational programme is completed.

Step #5 Employment, Immigration, and Preference

For a large percentage of students, securing jobs while pursuing their higher education is the ultimate objective. The nation ought to be able to support your long-term professional development and give you the appropriate possibilities. Immigration laws and procedures should also be carefully considered because certain nations have strict rules that may make it challenging for you to study back after completing your chosen degree programme.

Additionally, individual preferences for selecting the best institution abroad are influenced by past work experiences and extracurricular specialisation. When selecting the best college for a degree, personal preferences — such as having family or other relations who live in a certain country — often take precedence. However, avoiding this criterion of selecting a study abroad destination or college abroad must be avoided. If a student wants to pursue higher education abroad, they should base their decision on their preferred academic courses, tuition fees, college rankings, cost of living, and more.

How to Find the Right University to Study Abroad: The Final Call

It is always good to aspire to be successful in college but be realistic about where you stand and what your chances are. While it is important to apply to the best schools, it is also important to consider other options such as those with slightly higher chances of success.

Remember, though, that these schools are not considered second choices. They should not be treated as a backup or a second choice. The best way to find out about a school is by speaking to people associated with it. They can give you their opinions on what they think is good and bad about the institution.

University admission officers and professors are also great sources of information. Sometimes, students send out too many applications. Not knowing which schools are best for them can make the process harder. Ideally, you should apply to around eight colleges. Doing so will allow you to focus on the quality of your essay and avoid overloading yourself with too many applications.

Choosing the right university to study abroad is itself a big effort that students are required to put in. Students need to have a holistic university experience that is an extremely important part of the academic elements of university life. They must engage in virtual tours and gather information from as many sources as possible before coming to the final decision of choosing the right course or university. Finalising the university is a personal decision and students have to be very wise in analysing the factors that will help in finalising their choice.

Still confused about how to choose the best university abroad? If yes, then write to us at and get expert guidance to study at your desired foreign university!

Confused How to Choose the Right University Abroad?


Which country should I choose to study abroad?

There is no specific country to choose to study abroad that suits everyone’s goals and ambitions. The choice of the country depends on various countries. Countries like the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and Germany are popular among international students because of their curriculum, education framework, research opportunity and advanced technologies.

What should you consider before choosing a study abroad program?

Before choosing a study abroad program, consider what your goals are. You must think about what you want from the program you would like to apply for or what you want from your university. It can be learning in a new environment, doing research with advanced facilities, gaining experience by working in the international market or returning to the country to utilise your education.

What are the main factors to consider when choosing a university to study abroad?

The main factors to consider when choosing the right university to study abroad are the location, enrollment size, subjects, professors, scholarships available, cost and opportunities after education. All these factors can make or ruin your study abroad experience. Choose the universities that are best in their offerings.

How to conduct research to choose the right university abroad?

You can conduct research to choose the right university by listing out the schools you would like to go to. Now, compare the universities based on your expectations and needs. Then, make a list of the strengths and negatives. Apply to the ones that are best suited to your needs.

Who can help to choose the right university abroad?

Seniors who have studied abroad, your educators or study abroad experts can help you to choose the right university abroad. Study abroad consultants possess huge knowledge of the countries and universities that are best for studying your desired course. They can guide you to shortlist the colleges, apply to them and provide other facilities to help you out with admission.

What is the importance of job placements to choose the right university to study abroad?

Job placements are important to choosing the right university to study abroad as they shape the career of the students. The universities where the top recruiters come to employ students can offer a better start to the employment career of the students. Therefore, students must choose universities that help with placement services.

How does stay back period affect the choice of a university to study abroad?

The stay back period plays an important role in the choice of a university to study abroad. Students who wish to study abroad, also want to gain experience by working in the study destination. The countries that offer longer stay back periods can allow students to get a new perspective on life, learn new skills, expand their professional network and so on.

What are the qualities of a good university to study abroad?

The qualities of a good university to study abroad form an essential checklist for helping students to choose the right university for themselves. Faculty, researchers and students of high quality and merit are essential in a university. The university should promote creativity, competitiveness, and innovation and the learning environment should be encouraging.

Is ranking an important factor in choosing the right university to study abroad?

Yes, ranking is a very important factor in choosing the right university to study abroad. Top ranking charts like QS and THE consider several factors while ranking universities. These include teacher-student ratio, research facilities, teaching, academic and employer reputation and other factors. There are also subject-based rankings that help students choose the right course to study at the university. The higher the rankings, the higher the chances of success upon graduation.

Why is accommodation an important factor to consider while choosing the right university to study abroad?

Accommodation is an important factor to consider while choosing the right university to study abroad. You will be moving out of your house and country to stay in an unknown land and it is of utmost priority to find an accommodation that is safe and secure. You can choose universities that grant accommodation during your first year of study so that you get time to acquaint yourself with the new place.

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