When you hit your last year of high school, you have one thought on your mind: what do you do next year? It’s time for university, but do you really know what you want to do? This is the time to earnestly look at all your options and make all your applications.
It’s difficult. At 18, how do you really know what you want to do? Most of you won’t! I thought I did, but recent decisions have certainly proven I didn’t.
I thought I wanted to get into IT, and work with the military. Over the last three years, I’m enjoying freelance writing, being a mum, and working towards my law degree. I rarely use my tech degree, except for doing a bit of website coding and writing about the odd tech thingy.
So, how do you choose your dream university course? Here are five tips that I really think will help.
What Are Your Priorities?
Make a list of all your priorities. I suggest doing three lists: the things you can’t live without, the things you really want but don’t need, and the things you’re happy to miss out on.
Picking your dream university course is more than just picking the subject. You need to pick the perfect school tool.
So, do you want to live somewhere close to home? Would you prefer to be in a large city or a small town? Is proximity to public transport enough or do you have a car? These are all aspects that you need to consider.
Your list of priorities will help with the initial choosing of location.
What Are Your Interests?
Do you have a specific job that you want to do when you grow up? Is there a specific subject that you really love right now that could take you further?
You should study something you enjoy. And there are ways to combine various subjects. Some people love business and IT, and Aston University offers Computer Science with Business as a joint degree for those people. There are plenty of other options depending on your interests and preferences.
While you may not know what you want to do when you’re older, doing something you enjoy right now is going to put yourself in a better position. You’ll work harder, and it won’t feel like work.
Do You Want a Year Abroad/in Placement?
Sandwich courses are a big thing now. No, you don’t eat sandwiches (yes, someone has once asked me that *roll eyes*).
The whole point of the sandwich course is to take a year out between your penultimate and final year. You work within an industry that links to your degree. Some of my friends worked for Microsoft, IBM and other big tech names.
I chose not to take the year out and continued with my final year, but that was more due to the military scheme I was in. I’d have loved to have taken that year, and can really see some benefits (for another post next month).
If you’re doing a foreign language course, you could benefit from a year abroad.
Not all universities and courses will offer this, so it’s worth making this decision before you start setting your heart on places and courses.
What Student Experience Do You Want?
This is something you really need to think about. Different universities focus on different aspects of the student life.
Some are known for their partying, while others are known for their education or commitment to find you work afterwards. Aston University is well-known for its employment afterwards since so many students find graduate positions.
The different courses will also lead to different student experience aspects. Many view a computer or math course to be much harder than an art or music course. It’s not necessarily like that, but that’s just the view.
You need to decide on the student experience you want, and then visit the universities to see if you get that experience. Talk to the students and the staff. Find out as much as you can. You’ll soon find your dream university course.
Always Find Out More!
Always, always, always find out more about the courses from the lecturers. When you visit the universities, you’ll get the chance to talk to at least one lecturer. He/she will go through the details, and share some of the projects that have been done.
This is really a time to talk about the course in detail. It’s the time to find out whether this is your dream university course or not.
You can also find out more from the students. You’ll get a chance to visit the classrooms, and there’s nothing stopping you from asking the students there some questions. It’s a better chance to find out whether the lecturers are recommended, or if there are currently issues within the timetable.
Take your time to choose your dream university course. Something may look perfect on the outside, but you need to know more about the experience, the lecturers and the details to make sure it is just right for you.
What steps are you taking to choose your dream university course? Maybe you haven’t even started yet! Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Image from Pixabay
Content (c) Alexandria Ingham, 2014. All rights reserved.