Before you apply for a university degree, choose carefully what to study and link your education with specific career options.
The WRONG reasons to study a subject at University are:
- It’s one of my A-levels and I do ok
- It’s a very popular subject
- I don’t like anything in particular
- My parents want me to do it
- This is the only one I can get with my grades
- I just want to study something so I don’t have to work
Usually, it is a combination of those reasons. In my case, two of the above applied (3 & 4 to be specific).
Nowadays, this decision cannot be taken in a light-hearted way.
- Tuition fees will increase considerably from 2012/13. As a result, you will have a significant debt that will follow you when you graduate and for most of your working life.
- Graduate unemployment hits 15 year high . Having a degree doesn’t guarantee you a job anymore. The number of jobs applicants outnumbers the number of available jobs. Employers are aware of that and are selective.
It’s not about getting a degree anymore. It’s about getting the degree that will lead you to a fulfilling career with good job prospects. Employability is the name of the game.
No doubt, there are people who are passionate about a subject and they would commit to it irrespective of whether all the boxes of rationale decision-making are checked or not. Good for them!
In reality though, the majority is good at many things but not passionate about a specific subject. They can follow many career paths but they are not sure what they REALLY want to do in their life. A similar situation may apply to you.
Nevertheless, you still have to make a decision.
Before you apply, consider the following:
- Find out what the long-term prospects of the sector you are interested in are (when a sector is growing, personnel will be needed and opportunities will come. For example, the renewable energy sector is likely to attract both government and private investment and maybe be hiring more people in the future).
- Check which types of jobs are in demand in that sector. Avoid jobs where there too many people out there who can do them. By the time you graduate, there will be even more competition for the same jobs.
- Get a degree with a specialization. There is a move from generalists to experts. Companies are rather looking for depth than breadth. Don’t go though for a super niche specialization.
The steps above will help you choose degrees that will increase your employability.
If you are still uncertain, it might be worth working for a while.
Don’t go to university because you don’t know what else to do. Higher education has become expensive. So, before you apply, make sure it’s worth your investment by studying a degree that makes you more employable. Link education with career.
Korina Karampela is the founder of b4iapply, author of 2 books, consultant and speaker.