The greatest bottleneck most students face while going for their MS study can be confined to only one word – Choice. Barry Schwartz in his book “The Paradox of Choice” mentioned that the more choices we have, more are the chances that we fail to make the right ones. Even Barry Schwartz talked about consumers, choosing the right MS course, the right university and also the right location is one of the hardest things for the MS aspirants.
Factors to be consider while choosing MS
While choosing the right course, university and location, there are multiple factors which need to be considered. If you take an in-depth look at these factors you would have clarity of mind in regards to MS.
Interests & Commitment
Usually there are two ways students choose to go for MS. One is when s/he wants to do it because MS is one of their stepping stones for a lucrative career. Another one is when students are compelled to take up MS because their parents/authority figures/relatives/friends would like them to do it and they just follow up.
If the first one is the reason behind your choice, then you must pursue your MS with all your heart. Otherwise, think twice. Why it is important? Because, if you have the burning desire inside you to do the MS, then you will do all you can to choose the right course, right university and right location and you would be committed to do it.
If someone else pushes you to do it or maybe you have a little bit of interest, chances are you would never give your whole to it. That’s why first thing is to enquire within about the particular reason for which you are choosing MS. It will give you enough clarity to do the needful and find the rightest option for you.
Area of Interest & Research
Once you are clear and decide to go ahead with MS, now critically evaluate which area/subject/topic/stream of science interests you. It is a very important step because it will ultimately decide the course of your career in the years ahead. To find out which area you are best at or the stream you like to study on, go over to the net and read everything you possibly can about the stream.
Even if you are confident about a particular stream, go ahead and do your research before committing yourself to it. More information may confuse you in the beginning, but if you follow the below mentioned method it would be easier for you to decide which one(s) you should choose.
- Step-1: List out all the possible streams you would feel that you get confused about.
- Step-2: Now go over to the internet and search each stream and read about them.
- Step-3: On the basis of the information gathered, point out the top 5 choices among the whole bunch of options.
- Step-4: Now go to the net again and search in-depth for each of the topic and see which one interests you most.
- Step-5: Now on the basis of your interest and the information you’ve gathered, sequence the 5 options one by one, from the most interesting stream at first to not at all interesting at last.
- Step-6: Search for the number one option in the net – where the course is provided, fees, location, duration of the course, career opportunities, affordability etc. If you find that the first option is available under all the constraints you have, give it a red mark.
- Step-7: Search other options in similar fashion. Though you may feel it is not important to search for other streams when your resources match with your desired stream, you need to still do the search in order to have a back-up plan. What if you won’t get admission into the Universities where the stream/course is taught?! You need to have at least another option to try.
- Step-8: Finally save all the information you have collected in a folder for future reference.
Quality of the University and Course content
Once you shortlist your favourite universities and courses, you need to check out on two most important things on which your whole future is depended. First, the quality of the university should be examined. But how would you do it? Simply by checking out two things. Go to the University site and then go to the faculty section.
Check out their qualification, years of experience. After checking that, find out whether those faculties have written any research papers or not. If yes, go and read them. You would be able to gauge the level of expertise they have on the subject matter. This is hard work, yes, but it will save you a lot of regrets for your future career prospects.
The second thing which you need to consider while judging the quality of the university is to check the alumni of the university and where they are placed at this moment.
Go over to the alumni section of the University website and check each name. If the phone number is given, you may call or if you feel awkward, you can simply email them and ask for guidance saying that you are considering taking admission in this college and you need their suggestion in this regard.
The second thing you need to be thorough about is the content of the course. Download the brochure and check each and every part of the content and try to match it up with other universities which are offering same courses/stream. You would get an idea.
After examining these two factors, if you are satisfied with the results, go ahead and highlight the name of the university and course for considering further.
Duration, fees and location
MS courses are dynamic. There are courses which of one year duration and some are two years or more. You need to consider the living expenses and cost of tuition at the same time while considering the duration of the course. Along with that you also need to consider the location.
Is the living cost in that location is higher compared to other location? If so, you might need to see how much budget you have for living and studying there. Location doesn’t only mean area, it also means country.
If you choose a specific country where the cost of living is higher but the course content and faculty are as similar as in the country which offers the similar course in less cost, you may go ahead and choose the lowest ones.
Do your calculations but remember the concept of opportunity cost in regards to time, money, effort, quality and investment. Then you would be able to make the right decision.
Above mentioned factors are most important while choosing the right universities, courses and locations. If you don’t consider the above you may need to make adjustments at later stage which would not be very prudent. Better, you take some time off and consider the above factors and do your research. You would be glad that you did.