10 answers

How did you decide on your university and chosen course(s)?

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I’m currently in year 12 (11th grade) and I’m unsure about what degree to pursue at university, which university and which country (US or UK).
#university #uni #course #study #degree #college

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10 answers

Alexandra’s Answer

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Hello Holly,

It really depends on what you are interested in pursuing. This is going to be your long time (committed) career, so choose wisely. Can you see yourself working in a hospital all day as a nurse? Do you see yourself working in an office sitting in front of a desk all day crunching numbers? My father was pressuring me to go down the nursing route when I was in high school, and at first, I believed what he thought, but then after I finished high school, I had a big interest in business/math which directed me to accounting. I changed my major at the beginning of my freshman year in college and I am so glad I did. This career choice needs to be made by you. (In the end, my father is proud that I chose accounting/finance as my degree/career path). Also, in a realistic matter, I wanted to choose a career where there was work available right after college. In my opinion, those jobs are: IT, HR, nursing, marketing, and accounting. Just be aware of that, keep it in your mind, everyone needs a nurse, accountant, IT, etc. As for choosing a university? Well, I did not have the option, honestly, and chose the closest university from my home (1.5 hours there and back everyday), thankfully, they had a really good business/accounting building. So whatever career field you choose, make sure the university that you pick is focused on that education. If you come to the US for college, there are Cal State Universities (CSU) and University California (UC). I went to a CSU, and it was a really broken down college, but I was there to get my education and go home. CSU is also cheaper and much easier to get in (back in 2011). If you are looking for the American experience and you do not have a budget, you should choose a UC. As for the UK, my husband is from there, he went to Brooks College in Oxford to get his accounting degree and I have been on that campus and it is a very nice campus. Best of luck to you, Holly!

Alexandra recommends the following next steps:

  • Hobby and Career are two very different things: Hobby (you don't have to go to college for) & career (you need a degree and will get a job after college)
  • Research colleges and ratings
  • Go to Ratemyprofessor.com and see what students rate the colleges and professors
Thank you Alexandra! Both you and your husband sound very accomplished. How important would you consider university rankings when selecting a university? Holly A.
To my experience, I do not think it matters, as long as you have the degree in your hands. I went to the closest CSU available for me at the time, and I was lucky for them to have a good department for business/accounting. When people are hired, I think (and I would) look at the persons degree certification, not the college they went to. Alexandra Dollard
And thank you for the compliment, I always thought I finished my studies after I received my accounting/finance degree, then realized, to move up in the accounting field, that you need a CPA. Otherwise you are stuck at the ceiling. So that is what I am doing now, accounting is a career where you are always learning, never stops. Alexandra Dollard
Thank you for the advice! I really appreciate it :) Holly A.
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Gloria’s Answer

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You have gotten a lot of great information to this point. I would say that in the US there is time for you to choose your major. In my experience, most four year universities had the equivalent with one and a half years of classes that do not apply directly to your major. They are mostly to make sure that you get a well-rounded college education. It was frustrating to struggle through math while being an English major. However, it also gives you an opportunity to explore majors that you had not been exposed to before. I changed my college major four times before getting my Bachelor's degree. It was a challenging and more expensive route to take, but I do absolutely what I am meant to do today. As you have one year left in school, there is time for you to be exposed to experiences that can help you with your major selection. You can volunteer with local organizations to get exposure to the work that they do. You can work at jobs that you did consider to see what they are like or job shadow someone you know to see what they do for a living. Be curious about what others do and you may find your own way in the world.
Thanks Gloria, this sounds fantastic! I definitely think that one of the things that make American universities so attractive is the flexibility which for someone as indecisive as me is great! :) Holly A.
I am so glad that my response helped. I would say if you can attend a US university in a place you want to visit, that would help with the challenge of being far from home and in another country. There are other considerations for you since I see that you live in London, a very big city with lots of access to public transportation. It always has something going on. If you haven't been to the US, I would make sure that you look for a city with lots of public transportation to begin with. If you know how to drive, that would give you more city options, although driving on the opposite side of the road is challenging. Gloria Ortiz
That’s a great idea! I haven’t taken my driving test yet, although maybe that’s something I’ll do over in the US if I choose to go there! London is a fantastic city and it’s transport system is something I’ll greatly miss if I choose to leave :( Holly A.
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Zainee’s Answer

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It was a very different time when I think back on how I made my decisions for post secondary education. I didn't have as much access online to explore different career options and for colleges and universities, I learned only of experiences of others. Ultimately, it came down to whether I can afford to study outside my city or stay local - which for me, I ended up staying local to save on costs.
In terms of choosing courses, again, I didn't have as much guidance but I relied heavily on my interests and subjects I enjoyed most. This changed through my 5 years in post secondary but I have to say, after the first year, I had a much better idea on what I want to learn and the practical career choices that will align with my education.

You have a much bigger advantage now with much easier access to information to make an informed choice. I encourage you to ask questions of working professionals to understand what their job / career entails. The more you know what's out there, the better you can align your interests and skill sets to the stream of education and institute.

One thing I did learn, know it's okay to change your mind! Never see it as wasted time since growing yourself and your knowledge will always be a positive.
Hi Zainee, I really appreciate the advice! I’d love to know what you studied and as you mentioned that it’s okay to change your mind, did you ever change your mind at certain points in your higher education/ career? Holly A.
Thank you for your follow up question! Happy to share. I've always enjoyed art and was accepted to university on a Visual Arts program. While I enjoyed the courses, I soon discovered that it wasn't something I wanted to pursue. I regrouped and ended up applying and being accepting into a design school in my second year. There was a communication design program which better aligned with my passion. This helped me discover a whole stream of career options. While I didn't stay in the design field as my career progressed, I've been able to tap into the experience and bring different ideas and strategies to my new roles. I hope this helped and best of luck! Zainee Gafoor
Thank you very much! Holly A.
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Sandra’s Answer

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Hi Holly,

It has been a while since I've been in college, but I chose the college based on what I wanted to major in and what I could afford. Originally, I wanted to be an engineer and that's what everyone around me said I would be good at. After taking my first course, I quickly realized it wasn't the right fit for me. I decided to take an accounting class and instantly knew that I found the profession for me. I attended Cal Poly Pomona in California and thankfully it had a great business program for accounting.

I would recommend doing your homework to get an understanding for the strengths of the school and whether you will feel at home there. A google search is a good way to start. Look for a school that will give you the most opportunities to explore the right major for you and provide a clear career path. It is a very different world now to finding a job after graduation so choosing a school that has a high success rate for job placement will give you an edge.

Remember to keep an open mind in college and explore different subjects until you find the right one. You'll know when you find it!
Thank you Sandra! Holly A.
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Saurav’s Answer

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Hey! Holly, I'm Saurav, I work with Dell as Technician, prior to my Job I was in my college completing my studies, my discipline was - Computer Science Engineering. So to answer your question i would say- I developed an inclination towards computer since I was in 5th Grade.

It started with playing games and painting stuff using Paint program on the Computer, I was amazed to find that on Computer I can do all these stuff. Like- I can play video Games, I can watch movie, I can read an Article, Paint something so since then I developed a fondness for the Computers. I started to like them and I started taking interest in them by learning the basics of Computer like - what is Computer, What is Hardware, what is Software and everything else about it.

Later in my 10th Grade, i had to choose between 2 Subjects that were offered as an additional subjects- Economics and Computer Application.
I choose Computer Application :) I did well my Quarterly and Yearly examinations.

So, to sum it up I would say- The Subject itself attracted me and that's why in my university i decided to go with Computer Science and Engineering as my Major. So I would suggest you to go with your feeling about particular subject, there is always something you are attracted to. Just look for the Courses that you could take to enhance your knowledge and skill in that particular "something".

So its always your intuitions and feeling that would help you in choosing your Favorite subject.

Now ---- How to select College --> Just Google for the best college of your chosen discipline in your Country and look for the entrance exams that you could take to get admission into that college/ university.

And If your are confused between US/UK, it really doesn't matter and don't bother yourself about it. I can see you come from London, England. Just try to land yourself in top college/university of your Country. The benefits of getting into top colleges are immense, you won't even realize it in beginning.

And above all, take care of your health - be mentally and physically strong. Take your time and write top 5 Courses that you would love to take on a piece of paper, now eliminate them one by one to go with a single course and remember ---- No Course is better than the other.

Break a leg Holly, you are already a star!

Thank you so much Saurav! Your story is fascinating and I’m glad you’ve found your passion! What would you recommend if you have 2 or 3 favourite subjects? Holly A.
Well in that case if I had multiple favorite subject I would look for the future aspects of it and the upcoming trend in that subject or dimension. Saurav Raj
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Sharhonda’s Answer

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I literally just took classes on subjects I was interested in until I landed on something I wanted to know more about. Sometimes that can be expensive but since I found what I really liked early on it wasnt so bad. This board is a great stating point! Talking to adults in your life about what they do, how much they enjoy it and why they do it may help as well. If you have to opportunity to visit some college campuses you can also talk to the students there and tour facilities.
Thank you ! Holly A.
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Blake’s Answer

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Hey Holly,

Deciding on a University is a very tough decision. The first thing would be to understand what sort of financial means are required to attend each University. If financial means are not a concern, then I would start to decide if I wanted to attend a school for a certain major. All Universities are ranked by different majors, so that might be a factor. If that isn't a concern, then you would want to take into account the geographic location. Is it far from home, family, friends, etc.?

Thanks,
Blake
Thanks Blake! Holly A.
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Riley’s Answer

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I have lived in the USA my entire life, so I guess I should start by saying that I really do not have much knowledge about universities in the UK. However, I decided to attend Florida Gulf Coast University with a major in software engineering (which I eventually switched to computer information systems). When I was in high school, I started thinking about what I wanted to do in life and that is how I chose my major. I knew that I was good at mathematics and I have enjoyed these classes more than others for my entire life. By realizing this and knowing that I enjoy video games as a pastime, I had the idea of going into work with computers somehow. Once I knew a general field that I would like to go into, I started researching different college majors that could set me up for a position in this field. Therefore, I would suggest looking into what classes you have done well throughout your schooling as well as what types of activities you enjoy. For example, if someone is good at science and has a passion for sports, maybe a major in exercise science would suit that person well.

Riley recommends the following next steps:

  • Consider your favorite school subjects as well as your hobbies and passions!
Thank you so much Riley! I appreciate the advice. Did you ever consider studying abroad? If not, do you wish you had? Holly A.
Actually Holly, I did not! Many of my friends did decide to study abroad and felt that it enriched their college experience a lot. As for me, I just felt that I would rather stay here for school and travel to other countries on vacations instead, mostly because I thought I would get homesick after the first month or so. Riley Carr
Thank you so much! Holly A.
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Sandra’s Answer

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Hi Holly,

It has been a while since I've been in college, but I chose the college based on what I wanted to major in and what I could afford. Originally, I wanted to be an engineer and that's what everyone around me said I would be good at. After taking my first course, I quickly realized it wasn't the right fit for me. I decided to take an accounting class and instantly knew that I found the profession for me. I attended Cal Poly Pomona in California and thankfully it had a great business program for accounting.

I would recommend doing your homework to get an understanding for the strengths of the school and whether you will feel at home there. A google search is a good way to start. Look for a school that will give you the most opportunities to explore the right major for you and provide a clear career path. It is a very different world now to finding a job after graduation so choosing a school that has a high success rate for job placement will give you an edge.

Remember to keep an open mind in college and explore different subjects until you find the right one. You'll know when you find it!
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Eric’s Answer

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Hello-

I'd recommend focusing in on the schools that focus on your particular area of interest. For instance, if you are interested in nursing, research the top nursing schools and find out more about them. Where are they located? How many students at the school? What are estimated costs?

Starting with a basic search will help you focus on on the details and narrow in on where might be the best fit for you.

Good Luck!
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