Thinking Ahead: Starting Your University Search

Posted by Sunera on September 3, 2014

On-board to York

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One of the biggest decisions that you will make in your life is selecting the right university. This is a lengthy process that requires thorough planning. The sooner you start the easier your decision will be. Research, research, and research is fundamental to ensuring that you are happy with your decision.

campus pic1
Beautiful York University Keele campus on a warm sunny day.

 Attending a local or overseas university

My story: Residency was the deciding factor for me. Being from a major city, I wanted to stay in Toronto and attend a university that is close to home.

  • Research the size and the location of your prospective universities.
  • The chief factor to consider is the cost of living. Living away from home will obviously cost more than living at home.
  • Are you willing to relocate to a new city or country?
  • Explore the funding options. York University is estimated to award $29-million to students while offering ample on-campus employment opportunities.

 Courses that interest you and explore the faculty

My story: Already being in the workforce for over ten years I had a solid understanding of the courses I wanted to pursue at post-secondary level. I was contemplating human resources or work and labour studies. I ended up choosing work and labour studies because wanted to strengthen my focus on labour relations and also avail the opportunities in the labour relations field.

  • Narrow down your choices by surfing the universities that offer your programs of interest.
  • Unique programs such as the one I’m pursuing are offered at selected institutions which automatically refined my search.
  • Flexibility in specializing is important; at York U you have the flexibility of primarily combining any two disciplines.
  • The faculty gives a clear indication of the programs strength. There were many videos for my program of professors explaining the program which gave me a chance to research their credentials.
  • Research your compulsory courses. You have to take majority of these, so it is equally important to be happy with them.

Placement or exchange programs

A presentation I attended to hear about a student’s international experience at York U.

My story: Having a placement was very important to me. I wanted hands-on experience aside from the classroom hours to ensure I understood what the job entailed. Placement was important to me to gain working experience in my field. I also explored other opportunities which would provide me with

  • Does your school offer exchange or placement programs for your field of study?
  • If you don’t want to live away from home to incur expenses then many universities offer exchange programs and York U is one of them.
  • Exchange programs allow you to study abroad for a year and the credits acquired overseas count towards your degree at York U.
  • York U also offers Work or Intern abroad opportunities which further enhance a student’s marketability.
  • Summer abroad also influenced my final decision when I accepted my York U offer. This gives you the chance to explore new countries while accumulating credits towards your degree.

Transfer and mature students  

My story: As a mature student. I resigned from previous full-time and applied for on-campus employment. Having experienced various on-campus employment positions, I am involved on campus by dedicating my time volunteering for various campus events throughout the year.

Social media  

My story: Being a part of the social media borderline generation. I had no idea that York U had such a strong online presence.  It is no wonder that my personal social media presence is very sporadic. But, there seems to be a growing trend where innumerable universities are turning to social media to engage with students.

  • York Univresity Facebook: York faculties are actively on Facebook to assist students. York University main Facebook page is where students often turn for support while discovering other that can guide them. After visiting the main York Facebook page is when I discovered the unification of other faculties and wealth of aid.
  • York University on Twitter (@yorkuniversity): Just as the York U Facebook page, twitter is no exception. YorkUniversity is on twitter where I discovered different faculties collaborating to make our academic journey a success.
  • YU Blog: Student life blogs give prospective and current student the insight to life at York from a peer’s perspective. Currently my colleague Megan and I are the bloggers for the yublogs. 🙂
  • YorkU Students on Twitter (@yorkustudents): Aside from our blogs, this is where my colleague and I engage with other students. You can tweet us questions about life at York on the YorkUstudents twitter page.

Go on a tour 

Tour York
Tours at York University.

My story: I visited York U for a tour, and the rest is history. I had tours booked with other universities which I eventually cancelled. I knew immediately that York University was the place for me.  My program of interest was already the leading factor for me to accept York’s offer and the tour confirmed it.

  • Tours have said to be the deciding factor in accepting an offer from a potential university.
  • There is just something about experiencing the environs in-person to determine if you can picture yourself here for the next four years.
  • Without touring a potential university you can’t determine how you will feel at the institution.
  • Tours give you the chance to feel the vibe of the place and connect with current students who are giving you the tour.
  • Current students can give you the inside scoop on their school. You can ask them why they chose this particular school.
  • And inquire about other things such as Wi-Fi, hangout and study spots, cost of schooling, transportation, residence, services and support.

Till next time!



Sunera graduated from York University in May, 2016 with an Honours BA in Work and Labour Studies.

See other posts by Sunera

  • Megan

    What a great article Sunera! I love it 🙂