Choosing a college course for some is easy; some people know exactly what they want to be when they grow up. For others, choosing a course is probably one of the hardest decisions they will make in their life. It does not help that there are now a lot of new and specialised college courses and college programs among which you have to choose. The following are some of the things you must consider when choosing a college course.
- What are your interests?
The most basic consideration in the choice of a college course is, what you want. Is there something that you have always wanted to get into, something that excites you and energise you? If so, that may be where you were suppose to go.
If you do not have clear idea of what you like or have too many interests, it might help to go for career assessment and counselling. Visit www.career-advice.co.za for more information.
- What is your aptitude?
Choosing a college course also entails an assessment of your skills and talents. You may know what you want, but what are you good at?
Interest and aptitude are two different things. Ideally, you should pursue a college course or choose a college major that allows you to explore both. However, this is usually not possible for some people. In that case, you would have to weigh your priorities: pick a college major you will be good at or pick a college course that is in line with your interest. Better yet, find a college course that you will be good at and has the potential of arousing your interest.
- What are your values?
Every career comes with non-quantifiable stuff: fulfilment, meaning and purpose, altruism etc. They help determine what you would like to get out of a career (and a qualification) besides material compensation.
- Can you afford it?
Money matters because it will dictate what course you can or cannot afford. Money matters should therefore be part of your college course choice.
How much money does the course require you to invest? For how long will you have to study? How long will it take to pay back a study loan? How much money do you actually have available to invest? How much money will you (approximately) make if you take up a career in line with that college major? How much money would you ideally like to earn after college?
- Time and practical considerations
You should also be aware of what you are getting into when choosing a college course. What will your college course require you to do? Are you willing to do it? For example – can you stand for long hours in a laboratory or do physical exercises as part of a trainer’s course? Are you squeamish for blood, the outdoors or animals etc? Investigate your course of choice and note the unit and credit requirements for each course, along with whatever minors and electives you can take as part of the package deal.
How much time are you willing to invest in your college course and major? If you want school to be finished as soon as possible, then you should probably not choose a college course that will not be useful without further study.
- Your commitment
Choosing a college course requires you to look inwards and assess your commitment to your chosen path. Assuming that you have the issue of money and other practical considerations settled, do you actually possess the skills and the patience to go the distance? Moreover, do you actually want to do so or do others expect you to? Will you have the strength and the will to stick it out against all odds?
- Consider the global economy
There are instances when certain courses may appear to be more profitable or more popular due to current events and situations. Keep up with international news, trends and developments.
- Listen to other people’s feedback
Besides guidance counsellors, family and friends, you may also want to ask other people for their opinions regarding the matter. College professors and professionals in your field will also have a lot of significant input to offer.
Also, remember that although it might have small financial implications – you can still change your course early in the year, should you find that you made a big mistake. Most colleges have policies that allow you to do it within a certain period.