Monday, February 22, 2016, PM | Leave Comment
For an undergraduate, the world is your oyster; options are seemingly limitless as to which course to choose and how this will build into your career.
However with the ever-changing educational landscape, here are some factors you should consider before choosing your degree and school in 2016.
With your degree playing a significant role in deciding your further educational endeavors and career path, making the right choice of under-graduate course is incredibly important.
There are a number of questions you should ask yourself and factors to consider about a school, which will help you narrow down your options and make a more informed choice.
What Does Your Prospective School Offer You?
Look at campus facilities, accommodation and additional programs. When asking about facilities, check how modern the technology is – the more recent and cutting-edge the better.
Consider what knowledge and training your preferred future employment requires, so that you can match it with the offering of the school.
Ask if the school is known for the practical element of its courses, such as a work experience placements, as internships are very appealing on your resume for potential employers.
Other key points to consider are if you will have access to a library 24/7, what the on-campus facilities for sport, music and the arts are like, and if the school is recognized for the quality of its research.
It is a fine recommendation if they have published a good number of respected papers in your field.
Where Will You Be Based?
In finding the right school, it is important to widen your search to across the country. For students looking to end up in a career which will involve travelling, the life experience of studying away from home is a great thing to have on your resume as well as delivering you important lessons in life.
Similarly, the school you look at might offer you a placement year in a linked university in another part of the world.
This highly-regarded move is extremely popular with prospective employers and very useful regardless of where you end up working.
Where Do Your Strengths Lie?
In most cases you will decide on your course of study before the location of your school.
Therefore, you will naturally want to decide where to study based on a shortlist of the top places in your field.
Look closely at the syllabus and the modules you will be taking, highlighting the ones where you feel likeliest to excel.
What Does The Course Focus On?
Balance your passion for a subject with your capabilities for it. It is also important to consider the practical uses of the modules you are studying in the working world, for example in Chemistry and Engineering based courses, where employers will look closely at the skills you have acquired.
While highlighting your strengths and examining the modules you will be taking, it is also worth looking at what your degree is building towards.
Moving on to a Masters or PhD will require you to have taken certain modules, and it could pay to be aware of whether your prospective schools offer the best in terms of these advanced qualifications, if that might be something you want to pursue.
When you have narrowed down your options to just three or four schools, it is advisable to speak with people who have been through those courses to get their opinions on their studies, what was required of them and how they found it.
Usually universities will hold open days and facilitate this opportunity for you, but if you know someone personally it is often best to get a more open verdict, and another option is to search on LinkedIn for someone who has achieved a career path similar to that which you desire, and went to a school you are keen on.
If you have a connection, then they may be comfortable answering a few short questions, as well. After all, they were once where you are now!
This is an excerpt from an article published on newsweek.com.