Choosing the right university is one of the major life decisions that we make. Due to it's importance, there are many factors that we must consider.
Some of these factors are:
· Course Details
· Placement Opportunities
· Future Career
When considering the right course, it is important to research as much information as you can about the University on the degree course on offer. For a practical course it is essential to consider how much hands-on experience is embedded within the degree. Are there work placements and internships available? Another factor concert to consider is whether there are certifications or accreditations embedded within the degree, which will increase your employability.
Size of the Course
The size of the course may also be important. It may be a personal preference to have less students, where you are able to have more in depth interaction with the tutors. However, some may prefer a large course where they able to carry out more independent study.
The number of contact hours per week is an important factor if we are looking to engage in paid work at the same time or indeed other internship opportunities. How many hours are you expected to dedicate to the course could indicate whether it is right for you. You may prefer a disciplined schedule where most tasks are laid out for you. Or you may prefer to work on your own schedule and be happy with minimal guidance. Obviously, within a practical course, such as strength and conditioning, it will be essential to gain work experience and time in the gym setting. You should check that these options are available for you.
Who are the Tutors?
Who you will learn from at University is perhaps one of the most influential factors in determining the quality of the outcome. It will be useful for you to research who the tutors will be and what courses or modules they will take. Within strength and conditioning, especially if you wish to be a coach, you should ensure that some of the staff have coaching experience. Often within strength and conditioning at universities the tutors will be from a research background and may not have much practical experience themselves. This will not be an issue if you are simply looking to engage with the research side of things and perhaps looking to go into research or academia yourself, however, if you are looking to be an S&C coach you should consider this factor.
For some people, the overall experience at University is a major factor in determining the right choice. The location of the University is likely very important here as you may wish to be in a big city or a scenic location.
Employability of the course should be a consideration. If the degree course can demonstrate that many of their students gone into full time employment within the profession, then that suggests the course is doing a good job in preparing the student for the workplace. These stats should be available and can often be found through the Department website or on independent search engines such as which or another example.
Industry approved Accreditations are perhaps the most direct way of ensuring a quality degree course and increasing your likelihood of employment upon graduation. Different subjects and fields of course offer different Accreditations, so it is worth researching which one is appropriate for you. Within Strength and Conditioning (S&C), the highest level of industry embedded qualifications is the IUSCA Degree Accreditation, which requires at least 750 hours of practical experience and a high level of academic understanding.