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How to Shortlist Universities?

Applying to Universities abroad can be a long process and often daunting considering the number of Universities and Options to choose from, to accurately shortlist universities is not only important to secure an admit but also can save a lot of money and time. So, how do you shortlist the right mix of colleges to apply for?

Here are 11 things to consider when you shortlist universities

Availability of Programs

One of the Key benefits of studying abroad is the options you have in terms of specialization, course work and curriculum, each program has something unique to offer and it’d be best to zero-in on what you’d like to study or pursue research in before scouting for colleges. Once you have a specialization in mind look at the course-work, research areas and labs to select the college.

Acceptance Rate & Class Size

Not every College has the same composition in their classes; some colleges accept a high number of International students while some have a very small intake of International students. Colleges with higher acceptance rate should ideally be in your list however you must ensure other factors also add up. Note: Higher acceptance rate doesn’t automatically mean it is a safe option.

Average GPA, Test Scores

This is extremely important to know and should be considered very strongly, most colleges publish their Average & Median Scores and GPA on the program website and if your credentials are excessively lower than the averages it may not be the best choice.


Being in a great location comes with numerous advantages, if the college is located in a remote area it becomes difficult for you to network, find internships or even jobs later on. An ideal Location is where you have enough industry connect related to what you are pursuing.

Career Support

One of the main reasons to study abroad is to secure a Job and a lot can depend on the career support the College offers, some colleges excel in offering enormous support to their inmates and they often attract the best recruiters which in turn would increase your chances of getting a job once you graduate. Going through the career services page of the website is a good way t o start identifying the types of support you can expect and if possible also get in touch with some alumni to get a first hand info.

Alumni base

A College with a strong Alumni base is a Gold Mine! More the Alum better the rate of opportunities, a strong base will not help in you in the job search but also will open up new areas of possibilities. And if the Alumni are happy and willing to contribute it indicates the stamp of approval for the college.


A significant item to keep in mind, a great program without accreditation isn’t worth anything.

Extra Curricular Activities & Clubs

Studying abroad is an experience in itself and it won’t be complete if it is just a study oriented program, the universities normally offer opportunities and platforms to bring out the best in the students it can be in form of student clubs, associations, activities, competitions etc. Look through the university website to understand the type of options.


While Rankings may not give a complete picture on the program it will certainly indicate some factors which will help in determining the strength of the school.

Scholarships & Financial Aid

There are Multiple Scholarships & Financial Aid Options which you can apply for and some universities are generous in offering aid while some aren’t, it is imperative to understand the requirements if financial aid is a criteria.

Costs & Scholarships

Last but not the least, you may have all the tick-boxes checked and even secure an admit but if the costs are beyond your budget it may all be in vain, hence knowing your budget is extremely important.

Short listing Universities is an art in itself and it needs to be based on data, logic and key factors, these 11 key factors can help in selecting your universities. Plusprep also offers a comprehensive admission process including University Identification.

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