Picking the Right University (Part 2)

Academic Guidance

Picking the Right University (Part 2)

I discussed the importance of university culture and location in Picking the Right University (Part 1). In part two I will share insights on the role of funding, reputation and insider-information in making your choice.


Funding can be an important deciding-factor as few universities will allocate financial aid to international students. Most students will be asked to pay full-tuition but some well-resourced universities have funding available to exceptional candidates. Many of the universities with the largest endowments are able to give generous scholarships to students at each level of study – undergraduate, masters, and doctoral. International students rarely qualify for U.S. government loans or grants so university-granted scholarships are essential to making studies more affordable.

I highly recommend you visit the financial aid webpage of your target university and send a brief message introducing yourself and inquiring about available scholarships. Sometimes an alumnus from your home country will have made a donation to start a funding award and you may qualify. The best way to find out is to ask!


It’s no secret that a university’s reputation can help you land opportunities. A top university signals to prospective employers that you are intelligent and hard working. There is no doubt that university resources are very helpful. These include conference travel opportunities, funding for research or independent projects, internship placement, and alumni connections. Attending a prestigious university is a great start, but it’s not a “golden ticket.” Only those students who dedicate themselves to making the most of these opportunities will get the full value from the university experience.


Insider-information is essential to finding the university right for you. I gained perspective on the University of Chicago by reading The Maroon, UChicago’s campus paper, and recommended you check out your target university’s student newspaper online. Browse the department and faculty page for the programs you are most interested in to learn more about the professors, academic requirements and offered courses.

Visiting campus for yourself is ideal because it gives you insight into the campus community and culture. If that’s not possible, connect with a ChaseFuture Mentor from your target universities who can answer questions on topics like academic preparation, food and housing, student life, and university resources. Mentors can give advice and help you to navigate the selection process.

Learning more about your target universities is essential to finding the right fit for you! Best of luck in your search!


Greg Nance

ChaseFuture CEO