How to choose a university (when the classroom is anywhere you are)

By learning online, you’ll greatly broaden your options. Pick the ideal university for your area of interest, regardless of where it’s located.

How to choose a university

Does it matter what university you go to in Australia?

On the whole, Australia is less obsessed with prestige. As a (positive for you!) result, employers don’t place too much importance on where you studied. 

They’re more interested in the skills you’ve acquired, any work experience you may have gathered while studying, as well as the soft skills you have. Hint—demonstrate this last bit by volunteering for organisations related to your studies or a cause that’s close to your heart.

Having said that, Open Universities Australia can help you enrol in courses from Group of Eight universities such as the Australian National University (ANU), University of Adelaide and University of Queensland

You’ll also find that the courses offered are in areas each university is known for—as an example, you can study public policy, development and governance with ANU.

So, if I’ll be learning online, how do I choose where to study?

First, it’s a huge plus that you’re not constrained by geography. You have the freedom of choosing from any university and any course that teaches online, even if they’re thousands of kilometres away from you.

Open Universities Australia partners with 27 of Australia’s leading institutions, located from Darwin to Hobart and everywhere in between.

Here are some criteria you might want to consider when making your decision:

1. Industry connections

Does the faculty and university you’re looking at have strong relationships with reputable organisations in your chosen field?

There are many ways a partnership like this can impact the quality of your course. If an industry partner co-designs the course content, then it’s more likely to be current and teach essential skills you’ll need to get hired. Industry partners also often provide live briefs for group projects, along with advice and feedback on your work. Which leads into point no.2…

2. Work experience

Does your chosen university have a developed work experience program that allows you to complete a placement at an organisation of your choosing? The opportunity to practise the skills you’ve learnt in the classroom (or on Zoom) is invaluable. You might have already guessed that strong industry connections also come into play, with some organisations offering post-graduation jobs to high-performing placement students.

3. Graduate employment rate

Do a bit of Googling to see what percentage of graduates from your chosen course and university get hired after completing their studies. A higher rate is a strong indication that the course includes the practical knowledge and skills that employers seek. But where to find this information? On to point no. 4.

4. University rankings

It’s important to know what to look for in rankings. For example, the Times Higher Education rankings heavily emphasises the research output of universities (so, unless you’re looking to build a career in academia and research, might not be the most helpful).

On the other hand, the Good Universities Guide allows you to gauge graduate employment rates, student experience, skills development and teaching quality, amongst other factors. You can even look at these statistics at a university- or subject area-level.

Likewise, the QS World University Rankings and QS World University Rankings by Subject take a well-rounded approach to assessing institutions and courses.

Another unbiased way to compare universities and courses

If you guessed that we were going mention Open Universities Australia, you’re absolutely correct. With so many universities and courses in one place, all you need to do is search for the subject area you’re interested in, favourite the courses that look promising, then hit ‘compare’!

You’ll be able to view everything from price and application dates to career outlook info and course rankings, in an easy-to-digest, side-by-side table.

Need more help? Talk to a friendly human!

Sometimes there’s only so much a webpage can tell you. For advice that’s specific to your situation, an Open Universities Australia student advisor might just be the person you need.

Not only can they help you compare the cost, content and outcome of courses, they’ll also guide you through enrolling and planning your study load based on your other commitments.

Plus, they’re also best placed to explain course fees, student loans and financial assistance if you need it!


Studying online? Choose from over 900 degrees by 27 leading Australian universities, delivered through Open Universities Australia.



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