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Choosing the right Australian university

 
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You should start searching for potential Australian universities you might like to attend about 18 months before beginning your studies, as it can take some time to complete the application process.

First, you should have a good idea what course(s) you would like to study, plus a rough idea of where in Australia you would like to be located. This will help narrow down your choices.

Although most universities in the country are situated on the East coast, you still need to consider whether you would like to be in a big city or a smaller town, somewhere near the sea or further inland, etc.

The best place to find out more information on particular institutions is their website. Most universities have a section dedicated to international students.

This should provide information on student life, accommodation, the admissions process, entry requirements and more.

To help you further, we've put together our own general list of things to take into consideration when choosing a university.

Factors to consider

Academic excellence

First of all, be sure the courses provided by the institution are of high quality, with an excellent standard of teaching.

However, keep in mind that the best universities in Australia according to rankings does not include all the variables that make up an ideal place to study.

All universities have strengths and weaknesses, and although a list of top universities might have greater strengths than weaknesses relative to other institutions, any student who completes a degree at one of these top universities might encounter the 'weakness' when they might have experienced the 'strength' of another university.

International student support

Itís worth investigating how good the course is for international students by seeing if the institution has an International Student Program Director, help with housing, an orientation to the university, city and Australian education system, as well as advice services specifically for international students. In other words, make sure that help will always be there when you need it.

A good course will also provide opportunities to meet Australian students and will offer social events and an opportunity to get involved in student activities.

Location

Look at a map on the internet to see exactly where the institution is located and investigate the area it is in. Consider whether it is a place you would like to live for a prolonged period of time, and the sort of cultural and social activities it offers. Would you prefer to live in a large urban city, or somewhere more rural?

Find out if your accommodation will be on the campus, and if not, how good the transportation links are.

Unfortunately, there is little you can do to avoid the rain in Australia, as many areas experience rain throughout the year, particularly in the summer (May-August). However, it is also warm or hot across most of the country throughout the year - even the winters are mild along the southern coasts.

If you are not fond of the heat, you may wish to consider applying to the University of Tasmania, which escapes the very high temperatures that are sometimes experienced in most other areas of Australia. This is because it is on a slightly different lattitude and therefore has a more temperate climate.

Costs

You will also need to take into account financial considerations, as costs can vary greatly from institution to institution.

You will find that your living costs will be more expensive if you attend a university in a big city such as Sydney, and your accommodation is located in the centre. To save yourself some money, try to find accommodation further out of the city, though make sure transport links are accessible and reliable.

Compare living costs carefully so you can stay somewhere convenient at a reasonable price.

Funding

Most Australian universities offer limited financial aid for international students through their financial aid offices, although generally there is much less money available for undergraduate study than there is for graduate study. Private institutions can sometimes discount or reduce the costs of tuition, though public institutions rarely have this option.

Ask the institution for information on financial aid when you request an application form from their admissions office.

Further research

If you have any friends or relatives who have studied in Australia, itís worth talking to them to find out about their experiences, and what advice they can offer you in choosing a place to study.

Itís important to research universities and colleges carefully so you choose the ones that will meet your needs and interests Ė spending time and effort on choosing an institution can ensure you have a successful and rewarding experience.

If you can not find all the information you require about a particular institution on their website, contact them and ask for it.

 
         
 

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