Which university to choose for undergraduate studies is a tough question for several reasons. The factors like the ability to afford the semester fee, eligibility to get admission in a program of choice, accommodation, and university rankings, etc. play a crucial role. There are so many public and private sector universities in Pakistan. Most of them are concentrated in urban centers like Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi. Further, there are also some prominent universities at division and district levels in all the provinces. The presence of an extensive network of higher education institutions doesn’t guarantee every student to get an admission and pursue a degree that can lead to a promising career.
In fact, choosing the major subjects and taking admission in the right program is a bit tricky process and needs proper counseling so that students can know how to select a university for higher education.
Choosing the Best Universities in Pakistan
Students who want to take admission in Medical and Engineering are usually less worried about the choice of institutions. Since, they appear in MCAT, ECAT which then decides their fate. But, generally, there are some prominent universities in Pakistan that need no recognition and students keep on hearing about them during their high school days; these include LUMS, NUST, GIKI, PIEAS, COMSATS, FAST, Quaid-e-Azam University, GC University Lahore, University of Punjab, University of Karachi, University of Peshawar, BUTIEMS (Quetta), BZU, Bahria University, and some regional universities. Well, taking admission in a university only because a student knows about it is not a sufficient criterion for admission.
Usually, a student should keep in mind the following things for taking admission.
Fulfilling the Eligibility Criteria
Mostly, the basic eligibility criterion to apply for admissions in Pakistani university is to obtain 60% marks in F.A or its equivalent in A-levels. Note that 60% marks are not sufficient to guarantee admission. Each university has specific requirements in this regard. They may require taking specific tests or some general tests. Even if students do pass those tests then admission still is not guaranteed since so many candidates may want to take admission in that program making competition and merit to increase; this case is more evident in the case of the top-ranking universities in Pakistan.
Tip: Make sure to prepare well for a subject.
Check If the Program Is Recognized by HEC
Let’s admit it that most of the time students go for a degree that can lead them to a job ultimately. Public and private-sector organizations in Pakistan required students to have an HEC (Higher Education Commission) verified degree. Students must keep in mind that every university which is generally recognized by HEC may not have all of its programs recognized too; this can be the case with the high ranking public sector universities in Pakistan as well.
Even if a program is allowed by HEC it may face suspension in the future if it doesn’t continue to fulfill the set criteria. For example, the factors like lack of faculty, inability to produce research, students not completing their programs in time, etc. are the factors that can make HEC suspend a particular degree program for a time being. Therefore, candidates must check for the status of a university with HEC with respect to different majors.
About the Faculty
The strength of the faculty plays a vital role in determining the quality of education. In Pakistan, few public sector universities (due to lack of funds) don’t hire highly qualified staff on a permanent basis. In fact, they rely on contract-based lecturers. Consequently, these lecturers upon ending their contract can leave a vacuum which is later filled by visiting faculty members. Since the hiring process may take time leading to students waiting for a lecturer to fulfill the position.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that if all other conditions are met and students are available with choices then they should take into account the faculty factor as well.
The Link with Industry
Educational institutions are not only the bastion of knowledge but they also play an important role in grooming students for professional life. Unfortunately, not all the universities in Pakistan have links with industry even if they have placement offices or they arrange the job fairs. Few universities like LUMS that charge a huge fee or IBA does have a better reputation in the industry but they are not accessible for every student.
In such circumstances, students should look at the research culture in an institutes. Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad, COMSATS, and NUST, etc. are the examples of Pakistani universities that are in high ranking due to their research publications.
Avoid Sub Campuses
Many universities in Pakistan also have sub-campuses; these include FAST, COMSATS, UCP (University of Central Punjab), UOL (University of Lahore), BZU (Bahaudin Zakaria University), Riphah and Bahria etc. While main campuses of these universities are recognized the sub-campuses like those of (UCP , UOL and BZU) etc. might not be recognized by HEC. Therefore, students are recommended to check the status of each sub-campus with HEC before applying.
Affordability is the most important factor. Even if students somehow can manage to pay their semester fee then those from remote areas can’t afford to pay the hostel dues. There are some government-funded and private sector funded scholarships available but they are not sufficient enough. Thankfully, Pakistan has witnessed efforts among youth like students solidarity march to ask for the accessible education but these demands will need a long time before they get fulfilled.
Till now the students will need to make sure that four years degree program is sustainable enough for them. The reason is that inability to meet the basic financial needs on campus can lead to stress, depression which can consequently, distract from the basic goal of learning.
Getting Hands on Whatever Is Available
Students must realize that getting into the desired institution and in the desired degree program might not be possible due to constraints. What is in their hands is learning with concentration and getting hold of knowledge so that it can help them and society in a positive manner. It doesn’t matter where a student gets admissin in a high ranking university in Pakistan or ends up at a Tehsil level post-graduate college, what matters is utilizing the opportunity to learn and explore all the avilable knowledge avenues.