How to Choose the Best University in Malaysia that Fits You
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Choosing the right university to study in Malaysia after SPM, O-Levels UEC, A-Levels or STPM takes time to decide. You should visit the campus and talk to the staff and lecturers there. Check their facts to see what they say is true.
You must make your decisions based on facts and evidence, so ask the counselors to back up what they say with evidence.
See if the environment and facilities are good and that the students communicate in English there. EduSpiral Consultant Services takes students to visit the universities’ campuses to take them around for a tour and to give them in-depth counseling.
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A Comprehensive Guide on Choosing the Right University to Study in Malaysia
Some students choose their university because their friends are going there, or because their relatives said it was good, or the university was famous or glamourous.
Remember, you are choosing a university that will help to prepare you to work for the next 60 years of your life. If the university doesn’t equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills, you would get a low salary for the next 60 years of your life.
When making a decision, it is important to decide based on facts and evidence. Many students have told me that they chose a university because their auntie or uncle said that it was good.
But the question is, “What is their definition of good?” What is actually specifically good about the university?
When we ask these uncles and aunties this question, they would say because they have heard of the university before or someone told them that it was good. Now, that’s not a really good guide on choosing the university.
You must make your decisions based on facts and evidence, not on hearsay or gossip that is not supported by statistic, research, report or evidence. The decisions that you make now can change your life forever.
Many students spend more time doing research to buy your mobile phone than on choosing the university. Don’t you think spending time doing research and asking the right people about the university that could determine your future is more important? Would you ask a Doctor on how to repair your car?
Ten Reasons on how NOT to Choose a University to Study at
- My Uncle and Auntie said that the university is good but gave no solid reasons
- It has the cheapest course that I want
- I have seen a lot of the ads so it must be good
- It is the nearest university to my house
- My friends are going there
- Got offered a Full scholarship
- Got discount or free iPad
- The university’s counselor told me that it is the best university to study at
- I like the lake and lifestyle there
- The university is famous for one area of study so I assume that it must be the best for everything else related to that area. For example, one academy is famous for 3D Animation & multimedia design, so I assume that it is the best for Interior Design even though the academy had not won any awards for the course.
Now, choosing to go to a university based on any one of the reasons above is not wrong as long as it is supported by other valid reasons for going there.
The best university in Malaysia may not be the best university for you. In order to choose the right university that best fits you, you have to look at a few important points:
Know yourself in order to choose the right university in Malaysia
Certain universities in Malaysia are famous for their courses therefore if you know which course you want, then you can choose the university that would best provide you with the knowledge and skills. For example, students interested in Computer Studies or IT should choose Asia Pacific University, Petroleum Engineering at the top ranked Heriot-Watt University Malaysia, Food Science or Pharmacy would be UCSI University, Psychology is HELP University, excellent for Interior Design is KBU International College,Graphic Design is Malaysian Institute of Art (MIA).
Choose the university in Malaysia with the best facilities
- The most expensive universities doesn’t mean that they are the best. The university should have adequate facilities in order to run the course.
- If you do not have opportunities to work with the tools or equipment, you won’t get the training needed.
- I know of students who would pay RM30,000 for a diploma at a college in KL city without any sports facilities or a student centre when they can get a university with more facilities for the same diploma at a slightly cheaper fee. You should visit the universities before making a final decision.
- Visit the university to see if they have the necessary facilities for the course such as the engineering labs, pharmacy labs, computer software, biotechnology labs, recording studio, photo studio, computer labs, wifi connections etc.
- If you like sports, look for a university with the necessary facilities to support your interests.
Choose a university in Malaysia that’s recognised with years of experience
- An experienced university would be approved by the Malaysian Ministry of Education and have its courses accredited byMQA.
- The experienced university would have its courses accredited or recognised by the various professional bodies such as the Board of Engineers Malaysia, Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia, Pharmacy Board, Nursing Board, Malaysian Medical Council, etc.
- With years of experience, the university would have set in place systems that work, have networks with the industry, and the industry would know the university’s graduates.
- Universities with experience have won awards or their students have won awards in the various fields of study thus providing evidence that the programme there is good.
- How long has the university or college been established?
- How long has the course been offered at the university?
- What is the experience of the lecturers? Do they have at least a Masters degree with teaching experience? Are they fresh graduates?
I know of a student whose mother decided to enrol him at a university in Nilai for the diploma in IT because of a 20% discount. Instead of sending him to a more expensive university which is the best for IT, she wanted to “save” on the cost. The student told me that his first day of class, there were 20 students. 1 year later, only 10 students remain in the course.
The same university also discontinued the Electrical & Electronic degree programme and told about 50 current students to change to a different university to continue their course. Although the students were given a refund for the course, it still does not justify their action. The university is not famous for the engineering courses as well. Students chose the university because of the many ads the university had put up.
Recently, a student chose to study at a college which had been upgraded to university college status. He chose to study engineering there even though I told him that the college has no experience running the degree course, the college is not famous for engineering, the engineering course is not accredited by the Board of Engineers Malaysia. I guess he just chose to study there because it is cheap.
Choose a university in Malaysia that has good Quality
It is difficult to find out whether the quality of the course at the university is good because Malaysia doesn’t have a ranking system. The SETARA 2013 & 2011 for universities and MyQuest for colleges can be used as a guide but do not follow it blindly.
You can also determine the quality of the course by looking at the following:
- How many students does the university have for the course?
- How long has the course been offered at the university?
- What do other students say about this course at the university?
- Is the university famous for this course?
- What are the awards won by the students in this course?
Choose a university with an English-speaking student environment
- A strong command of the English language is necessary for a successful future career. A campus where the students communicate well in English will help you to improve your communication skills.
- Research has shown that graduates with a good command of the English language earn higher salaries and get promoted faster than those who are weak.
- Star newspaper reported that in a research, graduates with a good command of the English language gets a 25% higher salary and achieves promotions quicker. If you want to pass a job interview at a Multi-National Company, you will need to be able to communicate well in English.
- You cannot tell your future employer during the interview that you would take English courses to improve if they offer you the job. By that time, it is too late.
How much is the budget you have to study in Malaysia?
A lot of students I talk to do not know how much the budget is for their university studies. Some also say that their parents also do not know how much they have saved for their education. You should sit down and talk to your parents to find out how much they have set aside or are willing to pay for your education. Private education can cost from RM30,000 to RM100,000 not including the cost of living.
If you are buying a phone, the first thing you decide is the budget so that you will know which model would suit your budget. There is no point to go looking at HTC One or iPhone 5S when your budget is only RM1,000.
You are going to join a university that would shape you into what you will become for the next 60 years of your life. It is important to invest some money for this very important decision.
- Many students have no idea how much their parents have set aside for their studies. It is like going to test drive a BMW and then tell the sales person that you don’t have the money for it. Don’t take it as an insult but it will sure save a lot of time if you know how much your parents have set aside for your studies.
- Do ask your parents how much they are willing to spend. You can take the PTPN Loan and your parents can withdraw from their EPF for your studies. If you don’t plan, you won’t get there.
- Financial aids are available such as scholarships, PTPN loan, EPF withdrawal, KOJADI loan, MARA Loan, and others.
Cheapest courses may not have the best environment, expensive courses may not be the best
If your command of the English language is not strong, choosing a cheap course at a university with a Mandarin-speaking environment may not help you to improve your communication skills. Remember, you may “save” a few thousand Ringgit during the 4 years of study at the cheap university but if you don’t get the necessary skills and knowledge, you will not be able to save money for the next 60 years of your work life because of low salary.
Famous doesn’t mean the university is good
Just because a university is “famous” because of a lot of advertisements doesn’t mean that the university is good in quality. You must ask yourself, what exactly is “good” about that university. Are you choosing the university because you have heard a lot about it from friends and advertisements? List down what are the good points of the university and the course that you are interested in and then you will be able to make a better decision.
It is important to visit the university or college to see what are the amenities nearby such as banks, restaurants or food courts, LRT stations or bus stops, hypermarkets, and accommodation.
You can go for an expensive university by a lake and then find out that you have to drive out of campus to have lunch because there are no shops within walking distance.
Student culture at the university in Malaysia
Every university has its own university culture. Some are party universities, some are top academic environments, some are middle-class, some are mainly Mandarin-speaking students, some are serious, etc.
It is important to choose a university where the student culture fits who you are. However, for some, even if it fits you, it may not be the best choice. Party universities can be distracting to your studies. Mandarin-speaking campuses may not help you to improve your English language skills.
Is the investment worth it?
If your parents are rich, then this doesn’t matter. If not, then you must ask yourself if paying RM50,000 for a diploma to become a mechanic with a salary of RM1,200-RM1,500 is worth the investment. Or paying RM60,000 for a diploma in 3D-animation or fashion design is worth the sacrifice.
Personal Attention by the Lecturers
Even though the fees may be cheap but if there are too many students in the class, you may not get the personal attention that you need from the lecturer. Especially in technical & design courses, it is very important that the classes are small so that the lecturer can guide you, provide criticisms & suggestions for you to improve.