How to Pick the Right University Course or Degree Program

For students who have a particular mainstream career in mind, i.e. Banking & Finance, Healthcare & Medicine, Journalism, Media, Education, Law etc, finding a relevant university course or a degree program and choosing the right one is fairly easy. Since, these individuals already know what field they want to work in and what job can one get with a degree, many finalize the university choices right after high school.

But these highly motivated people who can move forward in the right direction on their own do not make the whole population. There’re masses who are indecisive due to a variety of reasons, i.e. confusions, lack of career counseling, overwhelming choices, financial constraints to name some. But most importantly, a greater number of the student population doesn’t really have a clear career in mind at all.

So, if you are a student who doesn’t have a particular career in mind because you didn’t really think about it earlier or you are unable to choose a suitable field due to unclear and overwhelming choices, you must read this article

First of all you must know that being too overwhelmed with the options around is very common for most of us. And finding the right course or degree program can be challenging for most of the people, however, unfolding the answers step by step is a systematic approach to move forward.

This article will lead you through simple steps with which you can find the right university course and choose the most suitable degree program for yourself.

Image Credit: Pang Yuhao

1- Know Yourself

Knowing yourself is the first step to find what’s best for you. So start answering these simple questions and better is to take notes and write the answers for your record. Taking notes of these questions can be quite handy in the next steps when you will be doing several comparisons.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Which subjects do you enjoy studying most? List them all, just in case, if you have more than one. List the subjects in proper order, i.e. most interesting first, second most, third most and so on.
  • Have you studied the subjects of your interest ever before? You might not have studied in school, but otherwise.
  • Are there any other subjects you are particularly good at? Maybe you do not really like a subject very much but you are very good at it.
  • What do you want to do after university? 

2- Compare Your Interests, Aptitude & Goals

Answering few questions in the step above allows you to know about yourself, but when you step into the professional world after finishing college or university, it’s not always that simple. You have to take a lot of other factors into consideration to make right career choices and grow your career to the next level.

It requires few comparisons before choosing the university course or the degree program. The exact comparison may vary depending on the fields of study, however, comparing the following factors can work well in almost all scenarios.

  • Is the list of your chosen subjects relevant to your goals after university?
  • Which subjects in your list have better career options in your country as well as around the world?
  • Where do you see yourself in five and ten years with the subjects in your list?
  • How is technology shaping the careers in these fields? Is it challenging? If yes, are you ready to take the challenge?

3- Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a University Course or Degree Program

As a fact of the matter, the changing technology and paradigm shift corporate sector as well as in small business landscape, skills based higher education has become a necessity. And, it’s not just the need of the current time, but this will prevail in the future.

Some key factors for choosing the university course, other than your interest and the job market dynamics may include:

Skills for the Future

In today’s fast paced world we have jobs that did not exist five or ten years ago, and the way technology is upgrading, ten years later we will have jobs that do not exist today. These jobs will require new skills set. So, finding a university degree program that offers courses where you can learn skills for the future is crucial for long term career goals.

Courses that Prepare You for the Real Workplace

There are many jobs out there that require candidates to be educated to degree level without specifying a particular discipline, for instance, some administrative jobs, teaching opportunities, etc. But these jobs do require soft skills, communication and documentation skills.

If you are planning to take university major course that is of your interest but doesn’t offer a particular specialization, make sure to take optionals that can help you acquire other basic skills required in the real life business world.

Courses that Serve Multiple Industries

There are courses that serve specific industries. For instance STEM careers (Botany, Zoology, Engineering, etc) but there are some academic disciplines that serve more industries than others, i.e. business administration, project management etc. If you have a list of preferred courses, do give an advantage to the one that serves more industries. It will not only open more job opportunities, but you will find a diverse field to work in as well.

The Bottom Line

Whether you have some university courses in mind and you want to reanalyze the choices or you have yet not decided about a specific discipline, finding a subject you enjoy most will help you develop transferable skills, which means you can become a pro in that field.

Do weigh your interests higher, but do not forget the other factors, i.e., current job market, future prospects and chances of growth. There are tens of online tools including Linkedin, Payscale.com etc. that you can use for quality research.

And yes, remember that changing or leaving a course is always possible, but making a right university course choice in the beginning can save you a lot of time and money.

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