Deciding on what to study after high school can be a daunting process. But it’s an important decision nevertheless. First, you need to ask yourself whether further studies is what you need for your future goals. If the answer is yes, you need to think carefully of the majors you select.
- Your choice will define your future prospects
What you choose to study will ultimately reflect on the career/further academic path you take. It is very difficult to major in a subject and then to choose your master’s in a subject completely unrelated to what you majored in. Similarly who you want to be is defined by what you decide to major in.
- There’s no going back
That’s not completely true. You can change your major by talking to your counselors in college but you often end up losing time and money. Once you’ve changed your major, you’ll have to do a lot of catching up to be at par with your classmates, and that would mean a lot of sacrifices- your participation in extra-curricular activities, and in general a social life, gets compromised. That is why it is important to think it through.
- Explore what you are passionate about
Choosing the right major based on what you love or you are passionate about, even though you haven’t yet thought about what kind of a job you want, will make your college life easy-breezy. If you don’t think it through and choose a course randomly, you’ll have tough four years. And changing majors is complicated as mentioned above.
- Gives you a sense of direction
If you’ve chosen a subject after thinking it through, the next step of choosing a career may come naturally to you over the course of four years. Even if it doesn’t, you’ve chosen to learn something you like so your counselors will also be able to guide you better towards a career option.
Common mistakes students make while choosing a course:
- You’ve done well so you opt for a difficult, more competitive course
You’ve done really well in your SAT’s and decide to not study what you really wanted to, but something you can now study because of your great scores. It’s a bad idea because great SAT scores don’t necessarily translate to great grades in college. Maintaining good grades in college is anyway quite difficult and if you don’t feel for the subject you’ve chosen, you’ll just keep struggling.
- You choose a course because of parental/peer pressure
This is the most common mistake we tend to make. Scenario one is your best friend or a partner is going to a college quite far away from yours and you don’t want that. So you choose a different subject to study in the college they are going to, just to be close to them. Scenario two is your parents have a preferred college in mind and even though you don’t get the course you want to study there, your parents are happy as long as you go to study in that college. Or parents don’t approve of the course you’ve chosen for yourself and they want you to study something else.
You don’t want either scenario but feel pressured and give in. And that’s the biggest mistake you can make. It’s your future and career that you’ve got to think about. Giving in would mean four long years of unhappiness and a compromise on the career choice you make.
- Choosing a course because it gives you better job prospects
You love literature but choose to study law instead because the latter has better job prospects and higher salary structure. Choosing a course because of better career options is a really bad decision. Like I’ve mentioned in many of the points above, choosing something for the wrong reasons will make you suffer all your life. You’d struggle with grades and even if you end up getting a job, you’d always be unhappy because it’s not what you really wanted.
- Choosing a course because it’s easy
You don’t really care about what you study; you just want a degree to your name. Think about it, doesn’t this actually take you further away from your career goals?
How to go about choosing the right course:
For the lucky few, they’ve always known what they’ve wanted to be. But most of us don’t fall in that category. We aren’t sure and this is a big decision to make. So the approach is very important.Follow this step by step:
- Make a list of the things that really matter to you- it could be subjects such as physics, or language, etc or it could be things like theater, or music, etc.
- Research extensively on the courses available for your interest areas and study them.
- List out the ones that you are most enthusiastic about.
- Then see what kind of career prospects the courses offer. Do they excite you? Shortlist the courses. By this stage, you’ve already found the course you want or have narrowed it down to a couple of courses that you really want to study.
- The next stage is selection of the right college. Look at the location, the quality, the fee structure of the colleges that offer these courses. Check their selection criteria, extra-curricular activities, societies, clubs, scholarship options, course duration, placement cells, alumni network, etc. The ones that suit you the best select them and apply.
- At this stage if you’re still undecided on which course to freeze upon from your list, let the college you get through decide it for you. The college that offers a course that excites you and gives you a great deal is the one which you should freeze on.
Remember, if you are excited about what you’re going to study, your future prospects will be brighter. So understand the importance of choosing the right course and follow your instinct.