Questions to ask when visiting a university campus
Often, you will get a general feeling about whether you can live and work on a particular university campus early in your visit. Your gut feeling might be correct, but even if you fall in love with the course and location immediately it?s important to ask questions in order to ensure the university or college will be a sufficient place for your needs.
Here are some questions that you should ask when you?re visiting a university campus for the first time.
Living and housing
Is there living accommodation on campus? Can you see it? How much will it cost?
You should check the quality and cost of your possible living accommodation ? there are a wide range of different options available, and sometimes international students will be guaranteed, or have first choice of, university halls that are close to the university. This can make living very convenient, especially if you have the culture shock of a new country to contend with at the same time!
How far away from your lectures and classes will you be living?
Some lectures will start at 9am or before, and with the likelihood of working late into the night around deadline or exam time it?s unlikely that you will want to live a long way away from your lectures and classes, or have a difficult journey in order to reach them.
Are there a lot of international students at the university?
Some universities have a thriving international student community, especially within certain departments, faculties or degree areas. If there are a lot of other international students on your course you are likely to find yourself feeling part of a community very quickly, as well as having your horizons broadened through meeting students from different cultural backgrounds.
Are there specific societies, spaces or services that are dedicated to international students?
Likewise, many universities have specific societies, groups or networks that are set up by or for international students, often focusing on specific cultures or countries and attended by students from these countries as well as those interested in the specific culture.
What general support will you have on the campus and through the university as an international student?
International students are extremely important to the functioning of any university, and most universities will have dedicated support services that are there to ensure the university experience of those from overseas runs as smoothly as possible. If anything goes wrong whilst you?re at university, these services will be there to help you.
Course and study
Are there a lot of quiet spaces where you can study, either close to lecture halls or near to where you will be living?
Often you?re likely to be working in the evenings, so you need to ensure that there are spaces in which you can meet deadlines and revise for exams without any outside distractions.
What modules are on offer?
There is no point in going to a great university in an amazing country and then choosing a course that doesn?t really interest you, so make sure the modules offered are the ones that you?re going to enjoy studying and find valuable.
Will I have a work placement year?
This can extend the amount of time it takes to complete your degree, whilst offering you real world experience and allowing you to build contacts within your sector. If a university course offers a work placement year it is likely to increase your career prospects for afterwards.
Will I need to take a language course in order to complete this course?
You may have taken a pre-university language course or exam already, or your course may require you to take a separate one as part of the admissions process. You will be able to check this with the admissions tutors.
Does this university have a good reputation in the subject that I want to study?
It?s easy to get seduced by a location, especially if the university campus is appealing and the people you meet are friendly ? but there?s no point travelling to a different country to study if it?s not going to have a clear benefit for your career afterwards.
What does the university/course cost? Is there financial support available?
International student tuition fees are likely to be higher than those paid by students who are from the country, so check how much your cost will cost and whether there is financial support offered by the university before you apply. There may be scholarships available.