Alec is an experienced educator and administrator from England. He has six years of experience in an international leadership position and 11 years in a classroom environment, successfully leading schools through IGCSE and IB candidacy and accreditation. Alec embraces the initiative in his school where every child is encouraged to maximise their potential whether it is academically, culturally or through sporting achievements. He is the former principal of EtonHouse International School at Orchard, Singapore.
The importance of visiting universities on the shortlist before making the final decision is very subjective, as it is highly dependent on the parent’s personal preference. However, often times, we tend to associate universities in terms of their prestige and standing, as opposed to a physical location and what the university life entails. Besides, due to the growing momentum around online learning, in 20 years, the university may no longer be just brick and mortar.
That said, there are benefits to visiting a university because it allows the parents a glimpse of the facilities the universities have to offer. Parents can also keep a lookout on the intangible student experience in the university during the visit. For eg: What are the support systems available? What are the extracurricular activities available? Does the university have an established cultural exchange programme? What is the percentage of international students and their country of origin? However, parents can also easily retrieved information about the university online, or talk to people via skype or visit university fairs.
Here are some practical tips for parents on shortlisting and choosing universities:
Look at courses that suit your child their interest
Do not just look at the modules that are offered in the first year, rather look through the modules taught across all the entire duration
Consider how easy it would be for your child to move between programmes, in the event your child does not like the degree offered
Shortlist no more than 4 universities. Pick a university that is aspirational for your child, a university that is realistic – based on your child’s ability and a back-up, in the event your child does not do as well as expected