5 Top Questions Zimbabweans Need To Ask When Looking For A University…

Zimbabwe University graduates

The announcement that both the Cambridge and ZIMSEC A’Level results came out recently poses a new dilemma for students; what university should I go to?

Though the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education are trying to sway people to do ‘STEM’ courses, some may not have done sciences and so the opportunity of having your school fees fully paid for you may not be there just yet. Or you may not have come out with 30 points, unlike some.

But at the end of the day, you will want to further your education, hence going to university might be a possible next move (personally, I don’t think so). There are certain decisions that will need to be made and after polling a number of past, present and future university students, I managed to come up with the below list of items students needs to have answered when considering what university they should attend.

1. Passion

What are you passionate about? What do you get the most excitement out of doing? What are you willing to do day in and day out, even if you are not paid for it?

Once those questions have been answered, that will point towards where your passion lies.

Never, ever, do a course or programme because of external forces; all your family are doctors, so you must be one too, your father was meant to be a doctor so you have to complete the dream, this course or that course is offering high paying jobs.

Whatever you decide to do at university make sure that it is internal driven, because when the road gets rough (whether during studies or after college) that internal desire is what should spur you on.

2. Programme

When your passion has been established, then the next question to ask is where is your passion best played out/exhibited? In which field exactly? This should help dictate field of specialty that one should study.

Ideally, one is to ask themselves this question early in their studies, as subjects that you do at O’ and A’ Level have an effect on what you will ultimately do at university.

If you want to do medicine, the subjects that you do need to have an inclination towards sciences and if you leave it until the point of applying for university that you have left it too late.

If you fail to “come out with the subjects” that you need for the course that you want based on your passion, I would not suggest you to change course to suit your subjects, rather to look for alternatives. Either repeat your A’ Levels or look for other methods of doing that course, maybe an online course?

3. Success Rate

How well have former students managed to perform at the institution that you are interested in attending? Asking the university itself will never give you a true answer (as very few universities will tell you “Oh, last year we had a 0% pass rate that saw all our students failing”). It is best to reach out to former students or other sources (I’m not sure if examination boards will reveal such info?) to hear from them of how the institution you’re intending to go to has fared over the years.

This can point to the resources that are available at the university, the quality of the lecturers, things that will aide you in coming up with top results too.

4. Location

Is the university you want to go to in your town or in another? What will you do about accommodation? Does the institution that you’re interested in offer on campus boarding?

Not having a proper place to stay could affect your studies big time as your mind will not be at ease. Make sure you do your homework in this regard.

5. Affordability

A lot of people (wrongly) place their emphasis here and make a decision as to what to study. As mentioned about, passion should be the leading decision as to what you want to do.

Yes, Zimbabwe is faced with financial challenges at the moment, but when you look at how much it cost to go to a Zimbabwean university, at that amount there are numerous options for someone who is chasing their passion.

One could study in Asian countries (a friend told me it can cost as little as $3000 for the whole year, including food and accommodation) or you could do an online course.

But never make your decision by the money at hand as you may do a course that your not passionate about and see yourself ditching it after only one month of working in that field.

Do you have other items you might place as priority on making a decision to go to university? Please feel free to state them in the comments below.

Main Image Credit: BuzzSouthAfrica.com