What to look out for when searching for colleges? Our Risers' ambassador, Jasmine, shares tips on how to select the best college option for yourself!
Dear high schoolers,
It’s normal to have your parents, uncles, aunties, and even your teachers express their concern regarding your pathway after high school. Do these sound familiar?
“Ah girl, what course do you want to study?”
“Boy, your results are always the top in the class, how about going into the medical field?”
“So, do you have an idea which college to go to already?”
Some of you might be really frustrated, some might be thinking deeply about it, or even start to feel the panic kicking in! Don’t worry. I’ve been in your shoes too — I was lost and confused, and I wasn’t sure what my way forward was. How I wish there was someone who could advise me when I was choosing a college. No, I don’t mean those ‘advice’ that point my way to a certain choice, but a general view of what’s available and what to look out for when choosing a college. Hence, here I am, a senior who has waded through the situation above, to share 5 tips to look out for when choosing a college.
First, let’s talk about choosing the right course. If you've a field that you truly wish to work in, that'd be really great. I remember browsing through the colleges that offer programmes related to my desired field, in Education. I looked up their website to find information about it, read the summary of the programmes offered, and explored with an open mind.
The most important thing for me was to go through the curriculum to see what I'll be learning and how it'll be delivered to me. Would I have to attend traditional 2-hour lectures and boring assignments just like in high school? Or will there be engaging methods of learning and discovering creative ways of presenting my ideas? I also paid attention to the accreditation of the programme and determined where the qualification would be recognised. I also wondered if it aligned with my future pathway?
So, before you decide, take into account these questions and allow yourself to explore more colleges before you make up your mind.
Secondly, the college environment is a big deal. Personally, I think it affects the way I learn and have fun! Is it equipped with professional learning equipment to maximise learning experience? If I was a science student going to the laboratory very often, I would really want to make sure that the college provides me with good laboratory facilities.
I’m sure you’ve heard about how colleges are also a place to have fun. I assure you that is certainly true. Studying can be exhausting sometimes, but a great college environment allows me to relax and have fun with my peers. Remember, life is not solely about grinding and studying hard, it’s also about finding rest time and building warm relationships with your friends.
After all, what makes up your college experience goes beyond the bricks of a building but the heart of the community.
Talking about relationships, you might be thinking, will you get to meet international students even in Malaysia? Well, of course, you will! In fact, colleges are the best place to build international friendships. So, you should consider an institution that welcomes and celebrates diversity to expose yourself to the different cultures and lifestyles as it builds your world view and understanding about the people who are distinctly different from you.
I once made an international friend from South Africa at the crowded cafeteria during lunchtime simply by offering a seat in front of me. We then shared the table and had a simple chat which led to us sharing about our own culture, lifestyles, and even languages. Being in a college that celebrates diversity helps me to be more open to others different from me.
I'm glad to have friends from different ethnicities and backgrounds during my college years as they're like windows to different parts of the world.
Another important feature you should look out for when choosing a college is definitely the opportunities to join extracurricular activities such as clubs, societies, and student bodies to enhance your soft skills such as communication skills, creativity, and critical thinking skills. These opportunities will fill your college life with colourful experience instead of just studying.
Being a Taylorian, I’ve always spent my free time helping various departments with different projects such as helping the e-Learning Academy shoot an explanatory video for new students to learn about the ReWind Lecture Capture System. I also helped out during an Open Day event, and am currently one of The Risers’ ambassadors alongside 4 other young and vibrant youths.
As Forrest Gump says, “Life is like a box of chocolate. You never know what you're gonna get.” I never knew I’d end up being an ambassador but I’m so proud of myself for seizing the opportunities around me.
Lastly, before selecting a college, you should consider your financial background. Does the tuition fee match your college budget? Perhaps you plan to apply for scholarships? You can start by checking out the colleges’ scholarship and financial aid column online. The more scholarships and financial aid they offer, the higher the chances for you to receive a scholarship to help lessen your parent’s burden.
Before I began my studies at Taylor’s, I did my own research and then applied for one of the scholarships. I was accepted to an interview and was eventually offered Taylor’s World Class Teacher Scholarship to complete my 4-year degree programme with half of my tuition fees exempted! I was overjoyed to be able to study with less financial concern.
So, go ahead and apply for the different available scholarships. Believe in yourself and you can achieve your dream too!
I hope you find these tips useful in helping you choose your college. It’s always good to pursue the next level of education after high school with a clear perspective. As tertiary education is an important place to nurture you from being a young caterpillar in the cocoon to become a mature butterfly, be sure to choose wisely. I’m always open to help you in discovering the better version of yourself, so feel free to reach out to me if you’re in doubt while choosing the best college for yourself.
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