When choosing what to study at university, it can be difficult to know where to start because even though the course is probably the biggest thing to look into, there are also a lot of other factors that need to be considered. Therefore, I have come up with my 5 top tips for how to choose what to study at university. These are my own opinions based of my own experience, but hopefully they can help give some guidance for what to think about.
My most important tip is to choose a course area that interests you. You will be spending three or more years studying on the course and it’s difficult to do well in a subject area that you aren’t interested in. That’s not to say that every interest even has a course designed for it, but in terms of long-term planning for a job and career, I think you have to at least have an interest in it so it keeps you motivated and happy when studying it. It can be difficult to work out how an interest can become a job or career, if you want it to, but that’s where researching possible outcomes from having certain degrees can be beneficial to do.
It’s important to understand what courses you can do, and if there are any that you can’t, and that’s where looking at grades comes in. To study at university there are academic requirements that need to be met, which includes achieving certain grades. Certain courses, such as medicine and law, are ones that can have high grade requirements, so it’s important to understand what courses can be realistically applied for. Some universities may also have different grades that need to be achieved compared to others, which may be due to the university rankings. It’s not to say that grades can’t be changed though – if you have a few years before your final exams, plans can always be put in place to try and achieve a better grade than is predicted.
The long-term goal of going to university is usually to get a good job or get on a career ladder. By looking at what job you want to have in the future can be a big part of choosing a course. For example, if you want to be a teacher you may study a subject that you want to teach or do a teaching course, or if you want to be a doctor, you can study medicine. These are just a couple of examples, but it shows that a lot of the time what you study at university can shape the job you have afterwards. However, there are a lot of subjects that can be studied that don’t have specific job outcomes. I eventually studied psychology, which is needed to become a psychologist, but from studying the subject there are also a lot of skills, such as report writing, that are learnt which can be applied to other jobs and careers. Even more specific courses can help people who may change their mind about what they want to do. The academic side of university goes a long way in showing what a person can do when it comes to achieving deadlines, writing assignments, and carrying out research. Therefore, even if a course subject doesn’t end up being related to a specific job or career, it can be a source of other skills employers may be looking for.
It may not matter what university you go to, as long as you like the subject, but for some people it does. If a person can achieve top grades, they may look at the university league tables and apply for certain universities. Most of my university choices were based on the course and where the university was, but everyone has their different reasons for choosing a university. It’s also important to note that a university may not be a highly ranked university overall, but it may be particularly well ranked for a specific subject area, such as sport. Therefore, I would have a look at the table just to have an overview of all the different parts of the university.
I think there are three main questions to answer when it comes to deciding the location of the university you want to go to. Do you want to stay at home or move away? Do you want to live at home or stay in halls? Do you want to go somewhere in particular, such as by the sea or in a big city? You can also study near to your home but still stay in halls. If you don’t mind where you go, then the course will probably be the main factor in your decision. Alongside the course, for me the location of the first university I went to was just as important.
Choosing what to study at university is an important decision to make because it affects three or more years of your life, but choosing what to study can also be impacted on by some the reasons I have looked at. I think it’s not only important to research what course subjects and universities are available, but also to think about what you really want to gain from the university experience.
If you have studied a course, how did you choose it? Let me know in the comments below.