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How to short-list Universities

Not sure how to choose a college abroad? Using our search tool, we can help you shortlist foreign universities based on your budget, grades and preferences.

Mahesh Ramani

An institution’s success can be measured by how soon its graduates find a job or have opted for a higher learning program; ensure they have good career support services you can avail.

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Once you have a concrete idea of which subject and course you want to study and have decided the country where you will study; the next logical step would be to make a list of Universities in that country, which offers your preferred course.

Size of the University or past laurels and accolades are not the only aspects that matter. Given below are some points that define the qualities of a good University. 

What Defines a Good University?

Every University has its share of positive and negative traits. Verify and research to ascertain if the institution where you plan to study meets most of the following points:

  • Up-to-date course-curriculum and excellent research opportunities
  • Qualified and friendly academic staff members
  • Affordable fees and generous scholarships
  • Comfortable on-campus accommodation and affordable meal-plans
  • A helpful career-placement team
  • Vibrant student life 


Eventually your hard-earned degree will work wonders only if you are able to apply your learning in real-life/work situations. So choose an institution, which offers an exhaustive course curriculum and also gives you state-of-the-art research facilities. An institution which allows students the option to continue with their postgraduate/doctoral research in the same campus is a definite plus-point!


“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” - William A. Ward.

An institution, which has friendly and learned faculty-members who help students learn is a great place to study. Also focus on the student-faculty ratio and class-size. Ideally, a student to teacher ratio of 15:1 or 20:1 would be the best option.

Fees and Scholarships

Tuition fees: This indeed is the deciding factor for many students; to a large extent education loans and scholarships help students. But there have been numerous cases where students have had to settle for a smaller and less expensive institution because they could not afford the fees charged by their original choice of institution. Scholarships are offered by institutions, governments, companies and philanthropists. Check for relevant scholarships and apply; most scholarships help students get a discount on the tuition fees. Some research fellowships and grants cover the entire fees, accommodation and living costs of the student during the course of research.

Accommodation and Food

In addition to the tuition fees, your next big expense will be on food and accommodation. Most institutions require students to live on-campus and applicants are advised to apply for on-campus accommodation at the time of admission itself. Some institutions give students the luxury to live off-campus. Select your off-campus accommodation with care and ensure that you do not have to travel for a long time to reach your institution.

Most American institutions have a concept called ‘meal plan’. Students pick a meal plan of their choice, which allows them a fixed number of meals every semester. Students get a pre-paid card, which has their details and money is deducted each time the student pays for a meal using the card. Students can recharge the card by paying money and can also opt for an alternate meal plan. Students living off-campus can also choose to buy grocery and provisions and cook their own food. This saves a lot of money as eating outside will definitely increase your monthly expenses.

Career Placement Team

An institution’s success can be measured by how soon its graduates find a job or have opted for a higher learning program. Institutions with a dedicated career placement team, which assists students in securing a relevant job is a big plus point. Career Placement Teams also arrange mock-interviews and conduct seminars to help prepare students for a fruitful career.

Vibrant Student Life  

Find an institution that gives you ample opportunities to explore your hobbies and interests. Most institutions have a ‘Student Union’ and also have various student clubs that cater to the interests of students. At the end of your course; you should have lots of cherished memories of the time spent with your college-mates in addition to your degree!


Check various international student pages on various social networking websites; also examine the Facebook pages of institutions; network with friends to see if anyone has studied in the institution, which you have short-listed. Speak to our advisors and get a clear idea of the costs involved. Research thoroughly before you finalize an institution and always have a back-up plan. To simplify it further, short-list at least three institutions and apply to them and get ready for a wondrous study abroad experience!

You never know, sometimes the institution where you decide to study, may make all the difference in how your career and life shapes up. So take time to use all our resources; from the course-finder and scholarship-finder to seeking free advice from our academic advisors; we, at Hotcourses India, are here to guide you in finding the right institution. 

Do you have any suggestions to help students pick the right University? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Have trouble short-listing universities?

Khushboo Gera Khushboo Gera,
Study abroad expert.
Given the number of options, it is a difficult task to short-list universities that you can apply to. Our advisors can help you out. So, request a call back today. Or call 1800 103 2581 / 1800 103 9634 (toll-free) today!