Determining where to go for tertiary education is a major choice in life, because you would be spending much of your time there throughout your further studies, and preparing yourself for your future career.
While transferring institutions is always an option, deciding where to begin your studies after secondary school is crucial.
Choosing a tertiary institution requires some research and an idea of what course you would like to enrol in. There are many factors that go into this decision, such as choice of study field, location and cost.
Students at Swinburne University, Sarawak Campus. Photo from Swinburne
It’s okay to not know what you want to do after finishing secondary school. Undertaking the process of determining where you want to further your studies enables you to learn about yourself as you think about your interests and what you’re good at.
It’s also helpful to understand your priorities, affordability and willingness to be away from home when deciding your tertiary institution of choice. Thinking about all of these allows you to figure out what course you might intend to enrol in.
Centre of Technical Excellence Sarawak (CENTEXS), a prominent technical institution in Sarawak
Choosing a study field is one of the most important factors to take account of when deciding which tertiary institution to attend.
Many have specialised courses in certain fields. Some universities are more popular for their engineering courses, while others are known for medicine.
Make sure to pick a course you are interested in, or a programme that you are confident you can excel in; otherwise you’ll end up wasting time and money for something you aren’t passionate about.
Another vital factor in your decision is the location of the tertiary institution. This is because your choice in pursuing further studies either in your home town, or outside – in a different town, state or country – can impact your lifestyle and cost of living. You should also consider whether you want to experience campus living or city living.
Going to school away from home allows you more freedom, but incurs higher costs as you have to pay for rent, bills, groceries and other monthly expenses.
Living away from your family also means having the need to be self-reliant, which involves being highly responsible in managing your own budget and life throughout your further studies.
Perhaps the most essential factor in deciding which tertiary institution to attend is the cost. Private institutions tend to have higher tuition fees compared to public institutions.
While tertiary institutions offer loans and scholarships to help students ease the financial burden of tuition fees, you ought to know that you must be prepared to meet the criteria required to maintain them, and most importantly to plan carefully on paying them back afterwards.
Besides tuition fees, there are food, accommodation, travel, entertainment and various other expenses to think about. Needless to say, it is critical to find out how much you are willing to pay for your further studies.
There are some other things to consider when selecting an institution, such as accreditation, reputation, facilities and campus size. In general, take into account all of these factors when choosing which tertiary institution to enrol in – and ensure that you make the right choice.