college off campusWe’re all different, and that’s what makes us interesting. So it’s understandable that some people know what career they want from the moment they can talk and walk and others find their passion later on in life. Picking out a university course that’s right for you is extremely important. Not only is it a lot of money to spend but it’s also going to help you get your dream job hopefully, whatever that might be. So where do you start? Here are some helpful tips to get you going.

Look At The Subjects You Do Well In

Nearly all of us all will have at least one or two subjects at least that we either excel at or do well in. Before you even start researching the courses available, it’s always a good idea to look at the subjects you’re currently taking at school and whether any of them are courses of study that you are doing well at. Speak to your teachers and ask for their opinion on how they think you’d do in that subject area. They are, after all, the people who help you day in and day out.

If the opportunity is present, find out your predicted grades for your subjects. You may find one or two surprises you. Once you’ve found a subject or two that you think you’ll be good at or go further with, it’s time to take the next step.

Are You Passionate About It?

This really is an essential criteria for when you’ve chosen your subject because it’s pretty pointless if you’re not passionate about it. Do you find it easy to engage with that subject? Could you see yourself working in some sort of professional capacity in that subject area? These questions need answering and if the answer is no or maybe, it might be best to go back to the drawing board.

Passion is what drives us and what motivates us to look into job roles, and how they can be achieved for the subjects you’re currently studying at school. See if it’s possible to speak to those currently in said roles to see how they got there. Everyone will have done something different, so it’s an excellent chance to explore your options.

Research The Relevant Courses

The research comes next, especially as there are so many different career paths you can go down, whatever the subject area. Ask family members for advice, seek guidance from your teachers and look into different course options, whether that’s doing more than one subject or studying abroad. You may also want to look into how competitive the courses are, especially if spaces are limited. Some courses may be more widely available than others so if you think it’s a niche area of study, start your search sooner rather than later.

There are also specific places where they solely focus on a particular area, the arts being a good example of this. Conservatoires will offer a more tailored approach, and these courses can be in drama, music, dance, and musical theatre. There are also schools for medicine, art and sport so look into these options as well as the traditional universities.

Consider The Costs

Depending on where you study, can also affect the cost so be sure to consider this aspect when picking the course. It’s a good idea to draft up a budget of what your predicted expenditures might be and what’s also available in terms of funding and sponsorship. That way you’ll know if university is affordable at this point or whether you might need to defer for a year.

You can also inquire with the university’s financial aid office to see if there’s anything available from their side. Some universities might offer grants and special funding if a specific criteria is met. This might be exceptional school exam results or passing a pre-entry exam. Every institution is different, so if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Length Of Study

There are also different timescales depending on what type of degree you choose to go with, and courses will vary in the number of years it takes to complete. Usually, an undergraduate degree is three to four years but there are options to do part-time degrees too if you’re already in a job.

Having the option of different study lengths is very useful for those who perhaps have had enough of education or aren’t able to commit to the traditional length of a degree.

Apply To The Universities

When it comes to applying, you want to go with universities that have the entry requirements that you can achieve, mainly being the level of results you get in your exams. Choose wisely and pick universities that you have a keen interest in. Perhaps there’s always been a specific place you’ve wished to study, or you’ve been recommended that university from previous students.

If there’s an opportunity to explore that university in the flesh, then that’s always a good idea. Most universities will offer open days where you can explore the campus, speak to current students and learn more about the course and university itself. You’ll know in your heart if it’s the right one for you, you’ll just feel it.

Be Prepared With A Back-Up Plan

Sometimes, life doesn’t go to plan, and therefore a back up-plan is always useful to have. There’s plenty of options available to you, should you find yourself in that position. Here are a few suggestions just in case you don’t get in:

  • Take a gap year – A gap year is when a student will take a year, maybe two or more, to come out of education. During this time, it’s usual to go travelling with friends or to get a job and gain some more work and life skills. A gap year can be taken for many reasons, and it isn’t something to be ashamed of or thought less of. It might be a well-earned break that you really need in order to reset those batteries and get you in the right state of mind to continue studying.
  • Community college – Community colleges play an important role in preparing students for the workforce and can be an alternative if you’ve not got managed to get the course you’ve wanted in the first place. Some students will use community college as a stepping stone by transferring over halfway through the degree.
  • Online courses – If you still want to get a university degree, you could do an online course like one of the Aston Online’s MBA Programs. You may not get the same university life experience in the flesh, but it’ll give you the opportunity you need to start off your career path. There are plenty of universities that now offer online courses, which is perfect for those who didn’t want the university lifestyle but needed the education.

When it comes to picking out a university course, you should take time to decide on what’s right for you. Going to university is a life-changing experience, that’s completely unique and one that will remain with you for the rest of your life. So be sure to choose the right one, whether it’s your first time going or if you’ve already got a degree and wanting to progress further with a postgraduate option.

If you have any questions, there are plenty of university guides available online from past and present students who share their experiences from finding the right course to the challenges of university life.

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