Studying abroad is the dream of many international students as there are many benefits such as seeing the world and embracing new cultures. Other benefits include meeting and building a network of friends from around the world, experiencing a different style of education, gaining international exposure and experience which are key to employers. While these are important, some international students face the dilemma of figuring out what to study so today we’ll beam our searchlight on How to Choose a University Course.
As you desire to answer the million dollar question ‘how do I choose a university course’? there are different things to consider. For instance, if you are looking to diversify your knowledge or change career paths completely, making the right decision on what course to study abroad is working towards your success already. And if you want to further your career by extending your skill set, you should choose a course in a subject that is a natural progression of your existing skills and qualifications. If the aim is to progress further with your current employer, selecting a course that is relevant to your work is recommended.
Let’s dig deeper to find out more, shall we?
1. Why do you want to major in a particular field?
The most important consideration when choosing your course is asking yourself why you want to major in a field of study. Your choice depends on what you think is best for you in the future. Try to consider the following points before deciding on a particular course of study;
- Think about your existing experience and skill set.
- Consider prospective careers and employment opportunities.
- Think about what subjects interest you.
- Talk to your employer, colleagues or peers about which courses are relevant and may improve your career.
2. What are you really interested in?
It’s really important to think about what you are interested in and passionate about in life. Is it because you can see your career looking bright and beautiful? Or is your choice based on your parents’ expectations? By questioning yourself, you can work out the exact path you want your course to take you on.
3. Where would you like to study?
When deciding how to choose a university course, you also need to consider the best country to specialise in your subject area? It could be a country with lots of internship and graduate work opportunities in that industry. Or a city that has access to specific resources. If you’re interested in marine biology, you can head straight to the world’s largest coral reef in Australia and learn right from the source. Also, remember that in choosing a location of study, if you’re happy being there, you’ll be happy in your study.
4. Take a Reality Check
Ask yourself, can I afford the flights, tuition, and cost of living? If not, consider applying for a scholarship. Also ask, do I need to have certain qualifications first? e.g English language proficiency, GMAT scores? What should be the duration of your study? Consider these durations for full-time study:
- Postgraduate Certificate: 6 months
- Undergraduate Degree: 3 – 4 years
- MA: 1- 2 years
- PhD: 3- 5 years
5. Make Enquiries
Try to make contact with friends or other people that studied the same course you want to study to know more about it. A thorough search will give you a practical real-life situation about the course and the country.
6. What’s important to you?
Make a short list of the top features you’re looking for. These could be school subject ranking or prestige, research facilities, practical experience and internships, cost of tuition, student support services, safety, social life, chance to travel, etc.
7. How do you like to study?
This shows how ready you are to study a course in the university, how hard you will work and the amount of fulfilment you’ll get. Choose a course that suits your study style, and you will be more confident in your success. Or, if you want to challenge yourself, choose a course that will take you out of your comfort zone.
8. Look at your Career Prospects
Think of your study experience as an investment in your future. i.e. your career and salary. Find out where other international students at that university have worked after graduation, and if there’s an active alumni network, or the opportunity to meet industry leaders during your course.
9. Focus on the detail
Every subject has a wide spectrum of options, so it’s important to know the most specific interests you have. For instance, Engineering students could study anything from bio-medical engineering to civil engineering. So if you prefer to build bridges than you do human body parts, understand that clearly before you apply.
10. Don’t free pressured
If you discover that you are no longer interested in a course, you can always make a change. Talk with the student counsellor on campus, and see if there are better options for you in a different course. This is important because you don’t want to spend the next few years of your life staring at textbooks you have no interest in. Remember, it’s all about your passion, so keep the passion alive.