Choosing the path for your future isn’t usually just a simple and quick process. Not only that, it can be a fluid process meaning it changes as new doors open and you are faced with unexpected opportunities in life. One path that many people take in order to solidify and help map out their future is to attend university.
During the 2016/2017 school year, there were 22.4 million undergraduates enrolled in university and colleges across the country. University can be a great option, not just for that person who has just finished high school but even for those who have been in the workforce for years and are now looking for a way to change careers and learn new skills.
Deciding that university is in the cards for you is only the start of the process though. Now it’s time for the hard part – how to choose the right university program. We’ll take a look at some tips that can help you navigate the waters when choosing the right program, plus some other university-related tips that will make choosing a career path smoother.
Don't Put Too Much Pressure on Yourself
Sure, choosing the right university program is a big deal. Of course, you want to pick wisely, but putting too much pressure on yourself can make the process more difficult than it should be. Remember, as an undergraduate, there is room to make changes.
There are schools like Kaplan University where you can try out the classes before you owe any tuition. It's part of the school's commitment policy so that students can see what a real class would be like before they go ahead and make that final decision. Look at their degree programs and education opportunities on their website here: https://www.purdueglobal.edu/
Update: Kaplan University Is Now Purdue University Global
It is a great option for those who are hesitant, not just about picking the “right” courses but also whether or not attending a university is a good option for them. The chance to sit in on a class and give it a try first can help get rid of fear, doubt, confusion, and anxiety.
Focus on Picking a School That Fits With You
Another way to go about picking a course is to narrow it down to the actual schools. Sometimes, the number of courses can just be too overwhelming, so researching the schools and deciding which ones fit with your lifestyle, personality, and interests can prove to be a more productive method. Take a look at what their campus life is like, the school’s reputation, what their job hiring rate is out of school, the location, the tuition fees, and what other graduates have to say.
What Makes You Happy?
When thinking about your future career, if you’re drawing blanks, clear your mind and start to focus on things in life that make you happy. What do you enjoy doing, what motivates and interests you, what do you want to learn more about? As you start to ask those questions, a future career path can start to form.
What Are You Good At?
Just as it’s important to think about what makes you happy and what excites you, you also need to be realistic and think about what you are good at. Do you have a knack for mathematics, perhaps you’re a very artistic person, then again maybe you’re great with people and have amazing communication skills? The qualities that you possess can help to determine what career you would excel in. Obviously, it can’t be the one and only deciding factor, but it can certainly make the path clearer for you.
Don’t Shy Away from Internships
If you really find yourself stuck, a good idea may be to try an internship before making any decisions regarding school. An internship gives you the opportunity to see what that field/industry would be like, the kind of work environment you’d be in, what sort of responsibilities exist, how stressful it may be, and the hours. It’s a great way to give a career path a test-drive if you will.
You may even find it useful to apply to a few different internships in different industries to get a more rounded look at the various careers out there. As an added bonus, while you are doing your internship, you’ll also be networking and meeting all kinds of contacts in that industry, which can end up being helpful further down the road.
Take Your Time and Don’t Let the Stress Get to You
It can be stressful to pick that perfect career path and degree program, but there is no need to add to that stress. Take your time, research all your options, ask questions, try an internship, and don’t feel pressured into making a decision until you’re ready.