Guidance – How to Choose The Right Course?
What should high school graduates be prepared for after their secondary-school education?
This is the common question students have always been asking. What major to study in the university after their high school? Though there is no definite answer, there are a few points to be considered from past experiences.
1) Interest - What am I interested in?
No doubt, what you study will tell what your future career goal will be. Choose what you like to do what you love and that will determine your success in the future.
If you are not even loving what you are doing, how are you sure you will really enjoy what you are going to do? Remember, your work is going to take up most of your time. Without passion and motivation, you will feel miserable at your work. You are likely to be unmotivated and chances are you will not be successful in your career.
Case study: Though many know what their interests are, the dilemma is to choose between interests and job prospects. My interest is in bakery but I am worried about the job prospects. Being a baker does not pay well either. What now?
Suggestion: All roads lead to Rome. There is certainly a value in each profession. It is not about what you choose but how you perform in each profession. If you are inspired to make great burgers, you need to be the best like you are McDonald’s in the fast food world. There is no point in choosing something you don’t like and failing in it. Ask yourself: do you want to be number one in a specialized field or be mediocre in a popular course?
For list of courses, you can refer to >> http://www.tagcourse.com/categories
2) Results – Do I have what it takes?
Admission process is another important factor.
For Form 4 or Form 5 students, we always encourage you to check the entry requirements of the courses you wish to study so that you will have a better idea on which subjects you should work harder.
For students who do not meet the minimum entry requirements, always feel free to seek for advices. There are always pathways, just depends on how much you are willing to work on it.
Case study: Many found out they cannot meet admission requirements. What now?
Suggestions: You may consider retaking certain subjects in your SPM examination or equivalent in your high school graduation exam. You can also choose other related certificate or diploma courses and further your study in a specific degree course.
3) Affordability – Can I afford the tuition fee?
There is huge difference among various courses and majors. You may need to re-assess your financial ability before taking up the course.
Case study: I would like to study in a private college or university but I cannot afford it. What do I do?
Suggestion: Students coming from less fortunate families need not worry as you may consider applying for different study loans or scholarships such as PTPTN loans. Bumiputras may consider MARA study loans. EPF also allows account holders to withdraw portion of their saving to pay for their children’s tuition.
4) Job Prospects – What work am I going to do after graduation?
What kind of work can I do after graduation? What are the job prospects? How much is the entry-level salary? Are there good prospects?
Case study: There is no harm in understanding your job prospects and work salary for what you will be doing. Very often, the job description, working hours, and working environment are ignored. Entry-level salary cannot be the only criterion in deciding your career. You may need to look at your chances for career growth and future development.
5) Challenges – What challenges might I face?
What kinds of challenges would you face in your work? Can I handle them?
Case study: “I want to save lives and I want to be a doctor.”
Suggestion: Many choose the major because likely they are passionate and inspired about it. But few realize that it comes with all kinds of challenges. For instance, you want to be a doctor but you are scared of blood. Can you work continuously for more than 36 hours without sleep? Consider the difficulties you may face at work. If you are still so determined to pursue this course, you might have found what you really love.
Factor 6: Future life – How you want your future life to be?
How do you picture yourself 10 years later? And how are you going to achieve that?
These are related to the course you select and the career after that. Do you prefer your future life to be stable or risky? How much free time will you have? Can your salary afford the lifestyle you wish to live in? Will you be happy with your job?
After knowing all the options you have and all the challenges of your future career, the final step is to get to know about yourself. What is your personality and who you really are? How well can you see yourself fitting into these selections? These are the questions that will find you true answer.
International School Teacher
Former media practitioner
Graduated from Mass Communication,
Towson University, Towson, Maryland, U.S.A.