There are so many possible options when leaving high school. Some people have had their path planned out since primary school while others will graduate high school still unsure of what they would like to do. Either way, there will be a course out there, tailored to your own particular interests and passions.
You may at times feel like there’s too much pressure on this one decision – but the fact is that it is not one singular decision. The course that you pick is made from many many separate smaller decisions. For example, the course’s location, it’s subject, it’s teaching style – are all small question that need answering. Keep reading to answer these questions for yourself.
With so many possible options for courses out there, how do you decide which one is best for you? Of course, there is no explicit way to know if a course is a hundred percent suited for you, but there are some very important questions that you can ask yourself and significant signs that you need to look out for to help you figure out the best possible course for yourself.
The most vital factors that impact which course is best for you can make it easier to decide. The first factor is your personal interest in the subject and content of the course itself. This is arguably the most significant factor when deciding your course. Other factors include the university, the location, the teaching style, entry requirements, the fees and payment details.
Continue reading this article to ask yourself the big questions, helping you get closer to the final decision. By the end of the article, you will have reached a conclusion on whether or not a course is right for you, so keep reading and stick with it.
3 Questions to ask when finding a course suited to you
Although it’s difficult to know for sure if a course is best suited towards you, there are a few simple questions you can ask yourself to feel more secure and assured in your choice.
What are your interests and passions?
It might initially be quite difficult to realise exactly what it is that you like to do. The best way to think about it is asking yourself what you enjoy doing in your free time. What is your favourite class at school? What are your hobbies? Finding a course similar to your personal interests is key. This will help keep you motivated.
Remember that the course you decide on is your own choice. As difficult as it may be, it is crucial to try to remain unpressured by friends, family members or even teachers.
For example, for someone who really enjoys reading literature, a course to do with English or creative writing will be more suited to their interests than a course focused on maths or science. On the other hand, someone who enjoys working through problems or solving equations might prefer a course related to engineering and maths.
What are your strengths and talents?
Although similar to the question above, it is not the exact same. Apart from what you would genuinely be interested in, you also need to consider what you are good at.
Already having some prior knowledge and confidence in a subject, will mean doing a course in this subject will be all that more easy and therefore more fun. This does not just include academic talent. Your strong suit may be in something not academic and more sporty or musical.
Also, it is important to remember, especially after just leaving high school, that university is not the only option. Not only is it not the only option but it is not always the best option. Find out more about choosing to attend university as well as alternatives to university by reading this article on the Think Student website.
An apprenticeship is an alternative to university after graduating high school. It is also an alternative to the last two years of high school. Find out what an apprenticeship is and how they work by reading this article on the Think Student website.
How will this course help you?
Though you do need to consider if you are suited to a particular course, you must also confirm that this course is suited to help you. This means you will need to contemplate what it is that you wish to get out of the course. All courses will be useful to help you learn the content, but what do you plan to do after?
One significant reason to pick a course are that it may perhaps help you get a good job. Picking a course that is more likely to land you with a job, is definitely a priority. On the other hand, maybe some courses will be better at helping you develop particular skills than other courses.
How do you know if the course that interests you is right for you?
When you’ve decided upon your favourite course, but still need a bit of reassurance: there are a few questions you can ask yourself to confirm this as your top choice.
Does it match your learning style?
Everyone has a different way of learning. This is why you should research the way in which content is taught during your course. For example, some prefer self-studying. In this case a high amount of homework and little class work or assessed work is most suitable. This student should find a course that can be studied in their own room, with a textbook and other resources.
On the other hand, some students are unable to study well on their own and by themselves. This scenario requires lots of in class time. This may include lots of lectures or tutorials. Students who struggle to study alone will benefit more from courses with one on one tutoring and smaller teacher to student ratios.
Is it realistic?
The initial factor that most consider when deciding upon their course is their interest and excitement. Although this is important, there is always a point when you need to pull yourself back and reflect on whether it is actually possible or not.
For example, other important factors include the location of the course. If it is taking place at a university far away, you will have to think about daily transport to get there. In some cases, you may have to move away from home. Some courses will even require you to go abroad.
Another realistic factor is the fees for the course. You must consider how much the course will cost. Is this a realistic amount that you will be able to pay every term for years to come?
Make sure you research the entry requirements for this course. If they are unobtainable, and you are sure of this, then this is most likely not the most suitable course for you. Will you be able to reach these grades? How much work will you need to put in, to get into the course? Questions like this will help determine whether this course is achievable or not.
Will you be able to stick with it?
The long term is very important to consider when picking your course, especially for courses that last longer amounts of time.
University courses are especially long – up to 6 years for some degrees. This means you should consider carefully what course you wish to proceed with.
If you cannot decide on just one university course, there are some options where you can take more than one course at university. Visit this article on the Think Student website that explains studying multiple courses at university more thoroughly.
Not only will you need to stick by your decided subject while studying your current course, but your future courses will also most likely be centred around this subject. For example, at university, even after the initial undergraduate degree, a master’s degree in the same subject may be the course that you opt on. Find out more about master’s degrees on the Think Student website here.
Correspondingly, after the master’s degree you may once again go on to study the same subject at a PhD level. Find out more about these on the Think Student website here.
Can you change courses if it’s not the right one?
Of course, you can! And you should always try to change courses, if you are sure the current one is not right for you.
Many high school pupils face this problem in their second last year of school. They may realise they really don’t enjoy subject choices they had opted on are. Visit an article on the Think Student that explains how to change A-Level Subjects here.
Changing courses once you reach University is also always an option. However, you may realise before even attending that this is not the right course for you. Visit this article on the Think Student website to find out how to decline UCAS offer after having accepted it. You may even decide that attending a university course altogether is not for you. Find out information on dropping out of university on the Think Student website here.