We all have to make them, and we tend to do this without evening noticing for the most part. For example, I’m sure you didn’t work up a sweat when deciding where to sit on the bus this morning. But unfortunately not everything can be this easy and we often find ourselves obsessing over the difficult bits and ignoring how fun the outcome could be. If you’re currently in sixth form it’s likely that the things causing you to stress the most link to something we like to call UCAS.
So you’ve chosen you AS/A2 subjects, you want to go to university, it’s time to start applying and you’ve found yourself in one of three positions.
1: You know exactly what job you want, what course you wish to study, where you wish to study it and how you’re going to get there. If this is you, congrats! Be sure to leave a comment below and share some tips!!!
2: You have a rough idea of what you want to do in the future, you know what courses can get you there and you are working hard towards something, you just don’t know what.
3: You’re lost in a labyrinth. You’ve either only just woken up from bed, or you’ve been soul searching for quite a while and still have absolutely no clue where to go next.
Whichever position you may think you are in, be rest assured that everything could change in a blink of an eye! If you fit into position 2 or 3: DO NOT PANIC! Also, don’t be jealous of the guys in position 1 because it appears they’ve got their entire life sorted- most adults you speak to are likely to tell you that they had dreams of doing one thing and have found themselves doing something completely different.
If you’ve managed to pick your GCSE subjects and your A Levels you WILL be able to find a course that suits you. Just ask yourself a few questions:
What type of person am I?
What skills have I got?
What excites me?
What am I good at?
More specifically, what degree can I do with my chosen subjects? What can I do to make sure my lack of necessary subjects doesn’t stop me from applying for my chosen course?
Read around your A Level subjects
You’ve chosen them for a reason so you must have some sort of interest in them. If turning the pages of the New Scientist is something you dread, a science based course clearly isn’t an option. However, if you find yourself reading The Economist every day and have formulated your own opinions on what George Osborne needs to do to get us out of this financial mess then this is exactly where we’re going to start!
Find a course that relates to your favourite subject/hobbies
So the world of money interests you? Or maybe it’s just current affairs in general? There are loads of degree options available based on these principles. In order to find the right one, you need to do some research- actually A LOT of research. Once you’ve narrowed down a few, sign up for taster courses, these may last a day, or maybe even a week, but they give you a feel for the subject and are usually free so there is no harm in trying a few to make sure you’ve got a rough idea.
Now you have gone from position 3 to position 2 and things aren’t so cloudy. Talk to anyone that knows anything about the courses you are interested in. Find out what they experienced- first-hand information is the best you’re going to get so make sure you get a lot of it. You might hear something so inspiring that you fall in love with a subject that once put you to sleep- if you aren’t open minded you’ll never make a decision.
Remember it’s all about you!
Don’t dwell on other people’s opinions and don’t pick your course for anyone besides yourself- after all, you’ll be the one attending all of the lectures for the next three years. Work experience is usually beneficial because you receive hands on experience, but if you wish to study something less vocational it might not be of much use so in such cases taster courses seem more helpful. Also, eliminating things you’re certain don’t appeal to you might make it easier to spot things that you hadn’t previously considered.
Research institutions, their courses, their requirements and how it fits you. Your school/college might also have their own careers advisor who can help you with this.
Hopefully, you manage to figure out what is best for you before the UCAS deadlines, but remember that a gap year is also an option. Maybe you just need more time to find out what is best for you- but do not feel pressured to apply for anything if you aren’t at least 80% confident that you will enjoy it!
Helpful link: http://www.bestcourse4me.com/
I hope this helps you to narrow things down a bit- but don’t expect an overnight revelation.