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How can I choose what to study in college?

I am an igcse student, and I still don't know what to study in college. I am not drawn to anything. Basically I like all my subjects and I score the same grade in all of them college-advice college student

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To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you


7 answers

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Craig’s Answer

I faced the same challenge when I was about to start college, and much later after graduating with a Manufacturing Engineering degree, I found that my real interest was Computer Science and ultimately working with global customers and teams which I do today and love it!

In addition to the other excellent answers, another technique is to work on figuring out what you love and are naturally talented at too. Many times we don't know what careers are available that combine our interests or even when graduating from high school (and even college), knowing the answer to "What do I want to do for a living?"

I have recommended to not only my own children, but many others one way to help figure this out:

Step 1: What I REALLY love and REALLY don't love List
1) Make a list with two columns..."What you love doing every day?" and "What you do not enjoy doing every day?"
2) Fill this out by alternating from what you love and what you hate in each row, not taking more than 10 minutes of brainstorming
3) Review the list and remember the first set of things you filled out will highlight what you feel the strongest about

Step 2: How others would describe my talents?
1) Make a list of what others would use to describe your talents
2) Now ask others that know you well, and capture the new items you didn't know but also those most repeated

Step 3: Compare the two lists from Step 1 and Step 2 for common themes
This helps narrow down what you love to do with your talents which is key.

Step 4: Reach out to individuals in the same field to learn more about what it is like to do their job in question. Job Shadowing and internships are excellent ways to gain immediate experiences and also make you more marketable when you start to work full time too!

Step 5: If you find an area that you were very interested in after talking to someone in that field, find out from them what the requirements were for them to get the job in question ranging from college degree to key skills. Reason, as in my case, a specific degree isn't necessarily needed to do what you helps open the doors of opportunity!

For example, if the top item you loved was 'painting' and one of your top talents are 'creativity', there are a wide number of fields that could apply ranging from working in an Art Studio, to working as an artist, to entry level job in creative marketing or in user design. Reaching out to individuals in those fields and asking for an opportunity to speak to them more, can result in a job shadowing and/or internship opportunity next. Only way to get a 'Yes' is to ask. By never asking you never know, and default to 'No' ;)

Another resource that expands into other areas that apply (personality, salary expectations, etc.) is:

In summary, to find a vocation that feels like you are on vacation every day, in my opinion the most important thing is pursue a field that YOU LOVE and if combined with able to apply what YOU ARE NATURALLY TALENTED at, then you will not only be truly happy, but successes will naturally come from as you grow!

Lastly, remember it is also a journey as an education helps open multiple doors of opportunity, and once you start and gain key skills and experience, you find new doors of opportunity and growth to pursue!

Hope this helps and wish you continued success!
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Robert’s Answer

Hi Mohamed!

Excellent question. I would start with what are your passions? What do you like to do in your free time? What interests do you have? Maybe a few thought starters for you:
1. do you like to build things out of Lego's or other materials? If so, engineering might be an option.
2. do you enjoy cooking or experimenting in the kitchen? If so, something in the culinary arts may be for you.
3. do you enjoy people and building relationships with them? If so, management, sales, customer service may be options for you.
4. interview some people in the workforce and learn what they do.

Take some time to think about what you enjoy and why - this could help you start to figure out what might be a good area of study.

Best of luck,
This is a brilliant idea thanks I will start right away Mohamed E.
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Andrew’s Answer

Hi Mohamed,

There are a couple of ways to look at the situation:

1. Look at what you want to do - do you want to be a teacher, doctor, engineer, scientist, etc.
2. Get exposure to a variety of different professions. There may be opportunities via internships to observe these careers in action.
3. Try to find something from #1. Though you may be good at a variety of things and they're easy for you, it'll show if you don't enjoy it / have a passion for it.

Best of luck!
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Yew Kuann’s Answer

Hi Mohamed,

Well done that you are thinking ahead, and it sounds like you are the master of all trades!

Consider your hobbies and what do you spend most of your time with. I also suggest chatting with your family and friends who may offer a glimpse into your strengths and interest.

In addition, there are usually university open houses for you to chat with the professors and current students, which was useful when I was trying to figure out what to study. In the end, I chose computing.

If you are still unable to figure out what to study, perhaps you can consider a more general degree instead of one that is more specialized. Like computing... :)

Good luck and best wishes from sunny Singapore,
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Jwahir’s Answer

Hi Mohamed,

Internships provide students with hands-on work experience and the opportunity to see if the line of work is worth pursuing. I completed a few summer internships throughout my undergraduate experience and one work study persuaded me to switch majors in my junior year.

I also recommend that you join clubs associated with the different areas of studies that you're interested in. Usually these clubs host alumni in the field of study to speak on their professional experience and offer advice or internship/volunteer opportunities to current students.

Hope this helps!

Thank you very much I will start looking for internships right away Mohamed E.
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Anurag’s Answer

I think I was in the same state as you when I was in High School except the master in all subjects part! I didn't know what I wanted to do and took advice from my parents, teachers and extended family friends. Those were the days before internet so research was limited compared to what is available today. I am helping my son with that process currently and here are some tips that might help:
1) Don't think about college majors and subjects - focus on what interests you/ what you like doing/ looking around, what type of roles in society inspire you
2) Do some research online or shadow programs if they are available, to understand what those roles do - how did they end up there, what path they took?
3) Do an online assessments through Strength Finders or something like that to identify your strengths and likely successful careers based on those strengths
Talk to people you admire or look them on LinkedIn and look at their profiles to gain knowledge about their career path. You will notice that (except some specific jobs like a Doctor) most people had a very zig-zag path from where they started and what they are doing now. I believe life is a journey and its not fair to expect a 16-17 year old to know exactly what they want from life....
Hope this helps!
It's an honor to have the same advice as your son and this will definitely help me so thank you Mohamed E.
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Madison’s Answer

This sounds like a great problem to have! Congratulations on your strong-start.

College is about preparation for your future and so I would first start with the question.. what do I want to do after I graduate? After all, college is only 4-7 years of your life (depending on what you choose to study)! I would think about who you are and what you like to do outside of school. Are you an introvert or extrovert? Do you like public speaking or do you prefer to stay behind the scenes? What makes you feel excited during the course of your day?

A job is more than just a 'title' and should really fit who you are as an individual.

I would also keep in mind that it's also okay to not know what you want to do right now- the important thing is to start. When you move through the motions of your college career you will grow as an individual and understand more about who you are and what you do and don't like to do. I personally went to school to be a doctor, but I graduated with an economics/business degree because that fit who I was moreso than becoming a medical professional. All the best on this exciting journey.
Thank you for answering my question it's just so frustrating when you don't know where are you heading I was losing hope and your answer gave me a kind of a boost to continue Mohamed E.