We had some joking about the title of this post—because the obvious way to find a school that is right for you is to have one accept you, of course. But if you are unsure of where to apply or if you have more than once place that you have been accepted to, you clearly have a decision to make. We all feel that we made the right choice for ourselves, and so we decided to offer up some advice on how we arrived at our choice. This is in the hopes that you might find it at least a little useful.
Many people are too intimidated to apply to a school as academic and famous as Oxford. Its prestigious reputation and long list of successful alum are too daunting for some and they decide not to apply. Instead of being overwhelmed by what they think Oxford is like, people should be checking out the colleges that make up Oxford. They will find much smaller colleges within that might not be half as intimidating. It opens the door to schools that you might not have considered. It is how many of us came to discover Regent’s, and there are similar schools all over the world. Take any big university and you will find that it is broken down into parts. The most important thing is to find the school (or path of study) that interests you the most and will enable you to get your desired degree. Do most of your information searches on those places specifically, instead of at the broad, university level—it is where you will spend the bulk of your time, after all.
Don’t discount a small school because you think it lacks resources. As you can imagine, a place like Regent’s—with its 100 students—lacks things like a huge library. However, we were still considered students at Oxford, which meant anything available to university students was also available to us. So if you look at a small school, see if it has a University affiliation. Will you be considered a University student, with all the privileges that come with attending a large school? If so, what are those privileges?
If you will be boarding at the school, you need to find somewhere that feels comfortable, provides you with the things you need (like food) readily, and that you feel safe at. For many, this is the first time you will be on your own. Don’t make the decision lightly. If you can, visit the campus. Talk to the students who live there and get a feel for what student life is really like. You will get a better idea of what you are likely to experience this way, as opposed to reading about it in a brochure.
Deciding where to go to university may seem like a huge and irreversible decision. We are here to tell you that it isn’t. You can transfer if you make the wrong choice—it happens. It is the same with people who switch careers. Sometimes things seem like a good idea and then they aren’t. Or it doesn’t work out quite the way you thought. If you make the decision to the best of your ability with the information you have, chances are it will be the right choice. Good luck!