UMASS Blog

Choosing a course

Not sure what course is right for you?  Feeling daunted by the thousands of courses available at hundreds of universities?  Well, read on, as this month I will be giving you some advice on how to choose the right course for you and where to find the best resources for course-hunting.

When I was in high school my favourite subjects were the sciences, especially Biology, History and Spanish; I always knew that I wanted to pursue higher education but deciding what degree course to do wasn’t always crystal clear for me. I chose A-levels subjects I liked and thought I would figure the rest as I went along.

I did work experience placements in a school, at a retail shop and at a hospital for a year. These first-hand experiences helped me think about what future careers I could strive towards such as medicine, management, education and so on.  I really enjoyed my voluntary work at my local hospital and I knew this was where my skillset was best suited and I really enjoyed it! So, what are my first two pieces of advice?

1. Find your passion. Find what you enjoy. Do you always look forward to one class more than another and why is that? Some times, enjoyment isn’t the same as passion. Teachers can make subjects that are boring (in your eyes) seem very fun so don’t let that mask what you actually enjoy doing.

2. Search for opportunities to experience careers you may be interested in. If you are considering teaching, do a placement at a school to get a feel for what it’s like, maybe you’ll really enjoy it? Maybe you like it but prefer another field?

Not everyone knows exactly what career they want to pursue and that’s fine. Many courses lead to many careers, and only certain degrees are required for certain jobs. A sociology degree, for example, can allow you to pursue management, human resources and teaching careers (and many more!). Many degrees at university offer similar possibilities after graduation. However, it is also important to realise that there are certain careers that require a specific degree – if you want to be a dentist, for example, you must study dentistry. So if you know what career you want to end up in check what are the avenues available to you in order to work in your chosen field.

Doing your research is very important.  There are open days available where you can attend lectures, seminars and workshops. This is a great opportunity if you’re undecided to attend and talk to faculty staff and current students. The latter will be the best avenue to get a first-hand insight into what your course is like. When I got to Manchester I was worried about the problem-based learning (PBL) style but, having attended an open day, I realised that this was something that I liked more than the traditional lecture series so it worked for me. Find what works for you!

Finally,  if you get confused and you aren’t quite sure what you want to do and you have some time, go for a walk or a hike or read a book, take some time out, refresh your mind and weigh up what you like and dislike about each course you’re considering and maybe, just maybe, you’ll be left with what was always meant to be…

And remember…

‘’My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style’’. Maya Angelou

 

 

 

 

Resources I think you’ll love:

Open days: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/open-days-visits/open-days/

Course finder: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/

UCAS: https://www.ucas.com/ucas/undergraduate/getting-started/ucas-undergraduate-what-study