How To Choose A University Course In Australia
It’s easy to get caught up in school life where everything is prescribed to you in the form of a timetable, assessment notification, or excursion permission form. Coupled with tests, co-curricular, and social politics, it’s hard to find the time to consider what you want to do when it all comes to an end.
There are so many options to choose from yet if you have no idea what you want to do, it can be even harder to know where to start.
Whether you have it sorted, partially pieced together, or completely clueless, many different strategies can be used to choose a university course.
You’ve just got to take it one step at a time.
Which University Course Should I Choose? Where to begin
With courses, careers, qualifications, and prerequisites, how are you supposed to weigh all the requirements?
Consider taking a deeper look into the biographical bullseye charts from the Department of Education, Skills, and Employment. Each poster asks you a simple question about an interest of yours. From there, they spread the potential careers into levels based on the qualification needed.
Another approach that is not nearly used enough to sift through careers and courses is eliminating what you already know you don’t want to do.
Some may think this approach might be limiting, but for the time being it is a start. This can be canceling a field (trades, sciences, maths, etc.) or a particular career (IT, hospitality, what your parents do, etc.).
From then, you can sift through the remaining courses and the careers they lead to, or from ideal careers, to the qualifications you’ll need to get there.
Careers to Courses
This methodology works for those who have an idea of what they want to do as a job and requires research into the pathways that can get them there.
For example, an aspiring medical mind wanting to become a doctor will research courses (eg. Bachelor of Medicine) and what the course provides. After talking to a few doctor-friends of your parents, they might mention something that would help your learning such as hands-on experience. That’s where internships, work experience, and other similar programs will give you an edge.
For those who haven’t quite gotten to that stage, have a go at these steps:
- Visualise your dream job
In order to see a potential career for yourself, answer the following questions:
- What field do you want to work in?
- What ideas excite you?
- Where do you want to work?
- Do you want to work in the office or out in the world? With a large group or on your own? Traveling or staying in one place?
If you can piece together what your ideal work environment looks like, that can inform the type of career that accommodates it.
- Career Quizzes
Career quizzes are great for pitting your options against each other to grant you the opportunity to compare and pick which appeals to you more. By completing these quizzes, you can start the career search based on the options presented to you at the end. From the favourable comes the reverse-engineering of what qualification will get you there.
The first quiz provides a breakdown of your personality and connects you with your strengths, areas for improvement, what you would look for in a role and a list of potential careers. After creating a free account, you will be able to use the resources attached to your account to keep track of your ideas and pathways to get there.
Another quiz follows the same format as the previous but instead of the additional extras, the careers given as results have additional information attached to them about salary, popularity, future demand, and the skills required.
The best way to learn is from experience, so seek someone with experiences to share. Through talking to people in the field, you can gain first-hand insight into what they do day-to-day, what their work looks like, commitments and opportunities, and what they wish they knew in your position. On top of this, ask them about their qualifications, where they studied, and if they would suggest any studies they wished they undertook. All of this information will bring to light the pathway to a job that might be your perfect fit.
Research companies that provide that kind of position, attempt to pair your dream job with a hobby and don’t forget to take into account lifestyle.
Of course, if it doesn’t work out for you, try another one.
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Courses to Careers
Contrastingly to the process above, this method works for those who have an idea of what they want to study beyond school but don’t know where that will get them.
For instance, an Arts degree is a broad degree that allows freedom for the student to pick various electives from multiple fields whilst majoring in their main interest. Yet such a broad scope of learning won’t always lead to a specific career.
- What you need to know
For this process, you’ll need to have an idea of what field you want to go into. This allows you to direct your course choice in the right direction. Then it is a matter of researching what courses are offered at which universities and comparing the experiences you will have.
Using a Bachelor of Arts as an example again, it is offered at almost every university. So when it comes to differentiating where you will study, that’s when researching which universities offer particular electives and additional experiences is vital.
- Course Seeker
As you can imagine with as many as 40 universities each with over 700 diplomas, bachelor degrees, masters, and doctorates on offer, it is a drain working your way through every option at every university site.
Some websites compile all the available courses in one place from universities around Australia. This gives you a one-stop-shop to search and compare preliminary information about various courses (ATAR, duration, location, etc.).
It is highly advised that when you pick courses to pursue, visit the university site to view the study patterns and what you will be learning to predetermine if the content will interest you.
Alike to the first method, research is best conducted through conversations with people who have gone through the process before you.
If you are starting to think about choosing a university course, there are so many options out there and that’s why starting early, talking about it, using the people around you, and running with multiple ideas are crucial strategies that will lead you to the course and the job of your dreams.
So get on it, there is work to do!