There are some us there that are already so sure about which university they would like to go to after finishing their HSC, and then there are some of us who are still debating on which ones to even consider (or even just which degree we'd like to do!). Here are some things to consider before when making your decision.
It's all fun and good to pick to a uni that's prestigious, but it's not the best idea if they don't really offer a course that you would like to study. It would be logical to first consider which degrees you'd actually want to study, and then to look into which university is the most suitable for you, rather than the other way around. Remember, it is about learning what YOU really want to learn.
How accessible your university is to you is also really important; you'll have to travel there multiple times a week for many years to come. Thus, it would be reasonable to pick one that's not too difficult for you to get to (don't make it too hard yourself!). For instance, if you live in southern Sydney, the University of Wollongong could be an option as it is not too far away. The University of Sydney and University of Technology Sydney are both around Sydney's CBD and are relatively easy to reach by train. Currently, getting to UNSW Australia would require most of us to switch to an express bus at Central. However, by early 2019, there will also be a light rail connecting UNSW to Central.
If you plan on driving there, the availability of car parks nearby should also definitely be one of your concerns.
In saying all this, if your university is too far from home, there is always the option of moving out.
Comparisons of different universities' undergraduate programs can be very subjective. The overall reputations of universities can heavily influence people's perceptions. However, this may not always be the best indicator, as certain universities may be relatively new or have subjects in which they specialise in.
Rankings may serve as a guide but should not be considered as a clear indicator of the quality of different universities' undergraduate programs, as they are usually influenced by other factors as well (such as the performance of their postgraduate programs).
However, The Good Universities Guide's university ratings may give you an idea of the relative performance of different universities in specific fields.
Many universities have connections to employers in various industries, and may vary in how well they prepare their students for employment. These links or connections may be very useful in helping you find graduate jobs or internships, as some companies may restrict themselves to students from a select few of the top universities.
You probably will need to first get an ATAR higher than a specific course's cut-off to be accepted into that course (unless you're able to get bonus points, plan to undertake an alternate pathway into university or plan on undertaking a degree as a mature aged student).
The ATAR cut-offs of different universities may not be an accurate indicator of the quality of the universities either, as they may just be reflections of the supply and demand of different degrees.
Lastly, this blog may only be helpful if you're thinking of only applying for Australian universities. Going for overseas ones may be a whole different story in itself, and thus, the questions that need to asked when making your decision may be entirely different.
As a side note, don't think you'll be resting after high school for too long, the workload in university is just as much (if not more!). Have fun choosing!
Jack Zheng | N° 26