A large number of us (i am confident to say) are aware of the nitty-gritties involved in taking a Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination and thereafter advancing to the next stage of continuous fasting and prayers to somehow aid your success in the examination and subsequent entry into the university or college of education or polytechnic or whichever of them your “spirituality” manages to get you. All the away from the start you are faced with the task of choosing. You receive word that the JAMB online registration has commenced, then you have to make a choice as to which center situated in your town, street, etc is more likely to carry out the registration process for you without much stress. After that, you are up to making the decision between attending extra- curricular study centers and just sitting at home studying for the examination on your own. Then you are faced with the grand-daddy of them all, choosing your first choice of academic institution. This is the stage where most candidates make frantic calls to an experienced family member or friend to ask the lingering question, “WHICH ONE DO I CHOOSE?”. Yes; it is pertinent to say that this is one choice most candidates do not dare make on their own. Should it be so?

Choosing a first choice academic institution no doubt is not a walk in the park. I mean this is a choice that decides your academic fate. Imagine ending up in an institution that is hostile to your every being and what’s more, you have to stay there and study for a period of four or five years of your life (depending on your discipline). Of course, there is such a thing as a “change of course/ discipline” but there is no such thing as a ‘change of institution’ (unless the joint admission and matriculation board (JAMB) instituted it while I was writing this).

So dear reader, I present to you the six factors to consider before choosing your first choice of academic institution. ‘You can’t make a mistake twice when you have learnt from the mistake of others’.

  • Climatic condition of the area the institution is located.

You might be wondering what the weather of a place have got to do with the school you would wish to study at, and you might also be having second thoughts about the intellectual proficiency of this website. But hold on before you click any button, I would like to throw a question, “does a pneumonia sufferer have a business with the snow?” Sorry, I meant rhetoric. Human system varies. There are people who can comfortably study under intense heat and those who can’t but would prefer doing so when there is an air conditioner blowing cool air nearby. Unfortunately, most Nigerian academic institutions do not afford such luxury to students.

So, be on the safe side, if you don’t like the heat, don’t go for ABU Zaria as you first choice.

  • LANGUAGE: Believe it or not, you need to be in an academic institution where you are able to understand and communicate in the language prevalent In usage other the official English Language.

Finding yourself in an environment where during informal hours, the language used is strange to your senses, can be detrimental to your intellectual strive.

A lecturer may decide to expatiate a particular point and the best way he/she feels to do that is using a dialect with the conviction that his/her entire students hail from the same tribe as he/she does, not knowing that a particular ‘foreigner’ is at loss of the vital point being pushed across.

After lecture hours also, students can converge to discuss the significant aspect of the previous class, and they are sure to do this in an informal language such as a dialect. During the discussion, new ideas are sure to be gained and a point missed in class can be re-gained. Imagine if all these is happening in a language you do not understand.

  • Familiarity with the area or state the academic institution is located in

When I gained admission to study in the prestigious Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, I was awestrucked. It can’t be? Oh Lord, I don’t deserve this unmeritorious honor!” okay, hold on, I did not say any of that if that’s what you are thinking. I was more like, “what in Kentucky fried chicken’s name is going on here? I have never been to Awka my entire life!”. And there I was trying to attain two goals at the same time. The first being achieving great results in my studies and the second, well, trying to get to know Awka. And I can confidently tell you that the effort I made in attaining the second goal affected negatively my effort in the first goal. You might ask what business I had with trying to know Awka, I have one simple answer, I had to live there.

The situation was however not the same for my course mates who had lived in Awka even before their admissions. They were very relaxed and could easily locate any bookstore in the area to purchase a book a lecturer might have referred to. They were very good at knowing the hotspots (that is, the areas the police raided often and also areas where there were high occurrences of theft and cult activities.) they also know the coolest hangouts in town and also where you could get the cheapest items and also places where you could get them for free. I was tormented with not knowing what they knew up until my third year of study.

In surmise, you have got to know where you are going.

  • Political stability of the state the academic institution is located in.

I am sure you already know where I am heading to with this one. Of course, I am sure you have no problem studying where there is funky music playing nearby, with your unparalleled ability to consciously block out distractions that may arise during your time of study, no matter how loud the music may be, piece of cake for you. But then I would love to see you use this ability when you have stray bullets flying through your lecture hall and over head like houseflies and the painful sting of tear-gas clouding your eyes and nostrils. Yeah, I guess that would not be fun.

So, make sure your first choice of academic institution is not located in a war-zone.”Are you kidding me?! UNIMAID, first choice? Did you not hear what I have just said?”.

  • Close proximity to friends, family and relations.

Whatever academic institution you aim to study at, you should make sure that the location is close enough to enable you make frequent necessity visits to your family, friends and relations. Believe me, this is necessary if you wish to keep food supply at a satisfactory level. Also you can never tell (especially in a country like Nigeria) when the next ASUU or ASUP or even NASSUP or more, the NLC strike may hold and how long it will take. Choosing to remain in your hostel and wait the strike out might not be such a good idea if the strike turns out to be a very long one. You will surely run out of food supplies and possibly ideas, if you don’t leave for home. And what if the strike turns out to be a very short one? Same thing, you need to be in a place close enough to school to enable you check if it is indeed true that the strike is over. Imagine the case of residing in jos and every two weeks you have to travel to Ibadan to check if the strike has been called off and worse still, to meet your supervisor because you heard he is town and is living in two days time.

This is also the possibility of you falling sick, seriously sick. Your friends can try, but we all know that there is no place we can get special care and patience enough than home. So, when you fall sick, quickly dash home for that extra-love and pampering that quickly puts those pathogens out of your system and make you strong again.

Hear me again, do not apply for as your first choice academic institution, a school on mars.

  • NUC Registered and JAMB approved.

Yeah, it all boils down to this number. Of course, everything I have said will all be rendered ‘bull feaces’ if your so called first choice academic institution lacks the nod of the National Universities Commission (NUC) the thumbs up of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB). I mean that you don’t want to go through a four or five years of intense studying only to be told at the end that your certificate is not “SUBSTANTIAL”. So, check well.

So, there you have it my noble JAMB hopefuls. Consider before you choose.