Looking to Study Abroad? Here’s How to Find the Best Universities in the World


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Anand Patinge

Lead, Brand

Even students who study in the best universities in the world can, and often do, regret their choice of university or college.

We’re not talking through our hats here: The Student Room, which is the world’s largest online student community, has published research that tells us that one in every five students would not choose their current university if given another choice.

It’s a saying you hear often: “nothing is worse than regret”, and this particularly applies to students.

Some people may choose the wrong degrees or courses and others may choose the wrong university or college.

So many students desperately want to go to an Ivy League College or to attend one of the Russell Group Universities but allow us to tell you a secret: it’s all in the marketing.

Are we saying that Oxford and Harvard are overhyped? Of course not. They’re fantastic universities, among the best in the whole wide world.

But the reason they are so well-known is that they are marketed very well. 

These institutions have huge marketing budgets and also host massive student outreach programs to further increase their applications.

Looking to Study Abroad? Here's How to Find the Best Universities in the World

Ivies Are Not The Only Option

However, there are so many other options that prospective students fail to consider for various reasons such as:

  1. Smaller universities not being in the public limelight.
  2. Lesser-known universities do not have that “prestige” factor.
  3. They think that they cannot afford the smaller schools because they have a lower student aid budget.

Finding the university that makes you happy and also figuring out how to fund your journey are the two major aspects of higher education — and GradRight helps you out with both those things, comprehensively. 

Use our SelectRight tool to help you select the best-fit university for you, with personalized recommendations. 

It is an enhanced, artificial-intelligence supported service that helps the student in the selection process when they are choosing their university.

Believe us when we say that your choice of university will clearly have an impact on the rest of your life, so it is imperative that you choose wisely.

Ivies Are Not The Only Option

The Basics: Factors to consider when choosing a university

With a few exceptions, the best universities are located in the United States, The United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

Here are the pointers that you should keep in mind when choosing a university, because it is a lifelong investment, and there is a lot more to it than the name on the degree certificate.

  1. The ranking isn’t always indicative of the quality of education. Though university rankings are generally decent indicators of a university’s prowess, there are a lot of internal politics on those lists. A good rule of thumb is to treat the lower spectrum of those lists equally: there’s not much difference between a 60th and a 100th ranked institution.
  2. Check out what sports and societies the University has on offer. While most universities will have a huge library of activities and sports for their pupils to enjoy, there may not be something for you to do. All work and no play makes Jack a dull child, so it is important that there is a proactive outlet for you while at school.
  3. Take a long look at student accommodation. Chances are high that if you’re going to university, you’ll be living away from your family, possibly for the first time. Don’t worry about your roommates either — it takes about two days to become lifelong friends with your flatmates in the shared kitchen.

Now that we’ve figured out how to shortlist prospective universities and colleges, it’s time to go into a bit more detail about how to determine whether your chosen schools will be a good fit for you.

The Basics: Factors to consider when choosing a university

Find The Best Universities In The World

Now that we’ve told you that rankings do not really matter as much as some people would have you believe, let’s learn about the things that set the Ivy League, Russell Group, and similar universities apart.

Universities like Cambridge, Oxford, The University of Tokyo, MIT, Stanford, and Harvard often find themselves featured on the “Top Ten” lists of various independent review organizations. 

Here are the features that ensure that they keep their spots on those lists. Your chosen university needs to have the following three points, and if it does, then rest assured that it is a good place to invest your time and money in.

  1. A significant concentration of talented professors and students alike. All universities that are worth their salt are focussed on their primary mission of imparting education. 
    As such, these universities will focus on admitting students to their colleges without considering national borders. This practice allows those universities to consider new ideas, approaches and learning styles. This practice also extends to their staff: good universities often have a good percentage of overseas faculty.
  2. The right “aesthetic”. Choosing a university for yourself is, at the grassroots level, an extremely personal choice and is often rather subjective and relative to the chooser. This is why it is imperative that any prospective student chooses the place where he or she will be the most comfortable.After all, you will be spending three to five years of your life there, which is why it is of utmost importance that the university be to the prospective students’ liking.A good way to figure this part out is to attend the university’s student outreach programmes or university fairs.  All universities worth their salt have these fairs, and they are a great way to see for yourself what student life at these universities is like, and judge for yourself if you’ll actually enjoy life there.
  3. The amenities that the college has to offer. It’s almost never the same in real life or in practice as it is on paper, so you be the judge.If a particular college in a university appeals to you, ensure that it has at least a few amenities other than the standard library, pool, and acreage.Course-specific amenities that a good university could offer include internships (virtual or physical) with field-relevant companies, placements, recruitment fairs, sports scholarships, and a strong extracurricular and co-curricular programme, as mentioned earlier. To clarify, because these two terms often confuse people, “extracurricular” references things like debate societies, sports clubs, and other activities that are unrelated to your academic track record at school. Co-curricular are out of the classroom activities that still pertain to your course load. A good university will have a healthy mix of both extracurricular and co-curricular activities.

However, these were only the three main (and very broad) guidelines on how a candidate should select their university. Those three pointers are more of a “how to think” guide than a “pick this” direction.

Choosing a university is a very personal matter, which is why it needs to be a personalized process, which is exactly what SelectRight gives you.

Find The Best Universities In The World

Seven Reasons To Choose SelectRight

  1. First and foremost, SelectRight is 100% unbiased and opinionated, unlike the agents and career “counselors” who have tie-ups with loan providers and similar ventures, who will push you to the college that is best for their bottom line, not your success.
  2. Whether you are a STEM student, CS scholar, or MBA aspirant, SelectRight will have something for you. SelectRight analyzes over 6 million data points from more than 10,000 college programs across disciplines, with more being added everyday.
  3. New colleges and universities are being added to SelectRight every single day, but if the program that was of interest to you wasn’t listed, you could always contact GradRight support and request that the course or program be added.
  4. SelectRight is a comprehensive list of fundable, realistic programs at good universities that the applicant is suited for.
  5. SelectRight also does something unique: it taps into the alumni networks of the courses and colleges that it suggests. This allows participants in SelectRight programs to get real, first-person, actionable advice from people who have lived in the college and in the area, who will give practical suggestions.
  6. SelectRight also offers expert-level guidance and advice on your application to the suggested colleges, every step of the way and doesn’t leave you hanging with a “apply here” list of schools.
  7. Aside from the above, if you have any other queries, SelectRight’s support team is always on hand to help out with any issues.

Seven Reasons To Choose SelectRight

Things To Remember

Here are a couple of points that every prospective college-goer should bear in mind when choosing a college.

  1. The university staff roster does not need to have multiple Nobel prize nominees, proper experience (both in teaching and their fields is more than enough).
  2. Going to college is an achievement in and of itself. Only about 40% of high school graduates even enroll in college, and even fewer actually go, and even further lesser graduate, which is why going to any institute of higher learning is a pretty big deal.
  3. It isn’t necessary to go to one of the Ivy League or Russell Group or otherwise these cream-of-the-crop universities. They are good, no doubt, but most of their “hype” is just marketing.
  4. There are so many other options out there that people don’t consider — you never know, you may fall in love with a smaller state university. The key is to keep an open mind.

And with that, allow us to wish you the very best of luck in your quest to find a good school for yourself, and hope you have a wonderful college life.

Picture of Anand Patinge

Anand Patinge

A master storyteller, Anand has enriched multiple entities with captivating designs, compelling messaging, and impactful media campaigns. Beyond work, you can find him feeding stray dogs, exploring art, and watching insiprational documentaries.

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