Choosing the right college after high school is such a daunting process that Hollywood has churned out so many angsty teenage movies about it. There’s a lot of pressure in this big step that parents often veto the decision by going for the shiniest place with the biggest advertising budget. That doesn’t always work out well for everyone. After all, it’s not about the ‘most happening’ college, but the one that is best fitted for you.
After helping thousands of students, UniDigest has narrowed down the factors into 5 simple C’s! With the help of our knowledge sponsor, Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL), we bring you the 5 C’s of choosing the right college.
What will you study? If you don’t have a specific pre-university course in mind yet, it is best to go with the gold standard of pre-university courses which are A Level and AUSMAT. These two courses allow students to enter into almost every university in the world. A Level and AUSMAT are also recognised by Malaysian Legal Qualifying Board for entrance into Law, unlike Foundation courses which are not. They are also the preferred choice for students planning to study medicine.
Another rule of thumb is to understand your learning preference. Students who excel in exam-style learning and prefer concentrated periods of learning generally do well in the UK-based A Level. Students who prefer consistent grading and presentations fare better with the Australian learning style like Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT). Check out this nifty infographic on What Course Should You Study After SPM / IGCSE? for more help!
Every private colleges structure their fees differently. Some offer scholarships that can go up to RM 15,000 but charge tuition fees three times that amount.
So, what you need to pay attention on is not just the scholarship percentage or amount, but what's the remaining amount that you need pay.
Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL) has one of the most value-for-money pre-university programmes. If you studied A Level at MCKL in 2017, taking 4 subjects, 2 of which are sciences, your fees would look like this:
Application & Deposit
RM 1,200 per subject
Now, imagine you scored 8 A+/A’s, and were able to get a 50% scholarship, which Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL) gives out on a first come first serve basis. In that case, your full fees breakdown would look like this:
Application & Deposit
Tuition Fee after 50% Scholarship
RM 1,200 per subject
Suddenly, your college education doesn’t have to break the bank!
Therefore, it is incredibly important have the full fees breakdown. Do note that scholarships typically cover only the tuition fees. Do note as well that the PTPTN government loan is not applicable for pre-university programmes. However, colleges usually have additional financial aids for eligible students, as well as flexible payment options like monthly installments to ease parents burden.
The next C stands for Campus. The things to look for: the environment, the location & the facilities.
A good study environment is one that helps you to be productive, challenges you to push for more, and be a positive influence. Thus, it is a very good idea to visit the campus before signing that cheque! For an authentic experience, we recommend going on a ‘normal’ day instead of an open day, so you get to see what the campus is really like.
You should also find out about the transportation system and the food choices around the campus. You'd be surprised how much an extra RM 10 in a more atas location can balloon up your budget in the long run!
Decide whether you will be making a daily commute (factor in time, toll and traffic) or living in student accommodations. Most Klang Valley colleges are located on the outskirts of cities like Subang Jaya and Damansara.
Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL) is one of the rare exceptions as it happens to have a campus located in the center of Kuala Lumpur. Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL) is one of the most connected campuses in the country as it actually has a monorail station (Tun Sambathan) inside its campus. It is also 10-minute walk from the KL Sentral Station.
To top it off, Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL) also has a luxurious amount of public spaces, study area and sporting facilities such as a football field, basketball / volleyball court, table tennis facilities and badminton courts.
Aside from making sure that the college is MQA and Ministry accredited as well as having good MyQuest rating, what's more important is the college’s previous track records as well as alumni testimonials. Talking to students who have been through the institution will give you a good idea of what the institution is all about.
Ask also about the lecturers experience and the subjects they teach. It will always make more sense to go to a college that concentrates on pre-university programmes, which ensures more focused lecturers. For example, Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL) has only five (5) major programmes, three (3) of which are pre-university focused.
Focusing on pre-university programmes allows them to enable their students incredible achievements. You can check this out for yourself by looking at their alumni profile. Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL) takes pride in where their students move on to. So, if you’re looking at being accepted into prestigious universities with scholarships, you know you’re in good hands!
5. Community Service & Clubs
It is crucial to be active outside of the classroom in order to be an all-rounder. Community service and participation in clubs & societies will help you develop a holistic learning experience.
Most clubs & societies are fully student-run, which is great for leadership development and real-life application of management concepts. The experience from them can be a great talking point when attending scholarship interviews. Participating in them is also a great way to blend into college community, make new friends and build interpersonal skills.
Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL) has athletics, performing arts, cultural, and special interest societies. Even better, it places a strong emphasis on character formation and service learning as part of its compulsory modules. This is in line with its mission statement which is to nurture a community where excellence in all its forms is celebrated and where individuals come alive to their God-given ability to make a unique difference in the world.
All these little details are best observed during a campus visit, however fret not if you aren’t able to visit first before attending. You can always leverage on friends who have studied there or capitalise on the knowledge of expert education consultants (like UniDigest) who can give you a clear expectation of what to expect.
At the end of the day, choosing the right college, while an important choice, doesn’t have to be hard. Just keep an open channel of communication with your parents and seek help from experts to compare your options.
Good luck and welcome to the best years of your life!