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Studying Abroad - Choosing a Place to Study

Published: 17.08.2011, Updated: 04.03.2017
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Pre-reading: What factors are important for you if you were to choose a place of study abroad? Would you choose based on the country, location, teaching quality, etc.? Make a list of the most important factors in order of importance.

Vocabulary
Make sure you understand these words before you read the text. Use the dictionary in the link collection to look up new words.
  1. coherent
  2. ranking
  3. distinguish
  4. worthy
  5. reputation
  6. global scope
  7. research
  8. income
  9. citations
  10. benefit
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Studying Abroad - Choosing a Place to Study

Choosing an Institution of Higher Learning

Graduates after a graduation ceremony at Oxford University, EnglandGraduates after a graduation ceremony at Oxford University, England
Fotograf: Paul Hackett
Harvard, Oxford, MIT, Berkeley, Stanford, Cambridge, Princeton, Yale... Such institutions – close to mythical in the university world – will certainly provide excellent teaching in exciting environments. However, they will also demand excellence from their students – both in order to admit them and while they study. Besides, they are often quite expensive.

But are such universities really the only option? When asking what a good institution of higher learning is, the answer is really quite simple – it is a place that satisfies your specific needs. Thus, the first thing one ought to do when considering studying abroad is to find out what one really wants to get out of one's studies and do with one's life. One is less likely to get lost if one acts on the basis of a coherent and precise plan.

However, there are certain markers that distinguish a first-rate institution of higher learning from others, and that are worthy of comment.

Let us see which criteria a university has to meet in order to receive the highest rankings. In this respect, three rankings stand out, due to their reputation of high quality, how widely they are read and their global scope. These are the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (TWUR) and the QS World University Rankings (QSWUR). The AWRU pays particular attention to indicators of quality and quantity in the university's research output, while the TWUR and the QSWUR also include criteria related to the learning environment, international appeal and prestige in the academic community.

 

Our rankings of the top universities across the globe employ 13 separate performance indicators designed to capture the full range of university activities, from teaching to research to knowledge transfer. These 13 elements are brought together into five headline categories, which are:
•    Teaching — the learning environment (worth 30 per cent of the overall ranking score)
•    Research — volume, income and reputation (worth 30 per cent)
•    Citations — research influence (worth 32.5 per cent)
•    Industry income — innovation (worth 2.5 per cent)
•    International mix — staff and students (worth 5 per cent).

Times University Rankings (TWUR)  

 


One may also attend a Norwegian university and benefit from exchange agreements and programs. For example: UiO studier utland and NHH studietilbud internasjonal.

There are many ways for an institution of higher learning to perform well, so it is important to decide upon what kind of performance one is looking for.

 

Discuss

Are all the criteria above equally relevant to prospective students or should some receive more attention than others?

Research

Choose 3 of the universities mentioned at the beginning of this text, go to the university's website and find out:

  •     the number of students and faculty members
  •     which fields of study they offer
  •     tuition fees
  •     activities

 

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