Written by Shahridzuan bin Azali - Write a guest post for us and get featured here!
One simple question. How many of you test the pool water with your feet before diving right in? You wouldn’t want jumping into the water only to find that it’s freezing cold, would you? That would be just… awful! Well, choosing the course to enroll in at university isn’t much different. College work begins before you even put your name down as a student. It’s all about research, research and research. Trust me, simply enrolling in a program because your gut tells you it’s the right one or because your friends are doing so would probably tear you down to pieces later on.
It’s only human for us to think that we want what we want until we actually do it. Realizing that you have chosen the wrong course after classes have commenced is one of the worst things that could happen to a student. In my previous post, I’ve mentioned that I have a Mass Communication background. What I did not mention was that my major was broadcasting. After securing a diploma in Mass Communication, I decided to pursue broadcasting, thinking that it was what I wanted. Back then, I wanted to be a presenter. Guess what? Given that technical “stuff” are not really my thing, I had a hard time in certain subjects – especially when it had much to do with using video cameras, editing videos and what not.
|(Photo Credit: Blackburn)|
You see, I wasn’t completely aware, before I enrolled, that broadcasting was more of learning how to be a production crew rather than developing skills of a television presenter. OK. It is probably the right path if you want to be a TV host but failing to know that technical skills are important for such a course caught me off guard. As if that wasn’t enough, when I underwent my practical training, it was one hell of a challenge! Don’t get me wrong. I learned a lot during that period but if I had known better what I was signing up for, I would have either been more prepared or went for another option. I’ve always loved to write but I figured majoring in journalism would drown me in news – something which I wasn’t keen to pursue back then. Turns out, journalism would have been a better major for a person like myself. I reckon you get my point right? (I know… a long-winded story for a simple point). But hey, I really do think that sharing that experience would ring a bell or two.
Again, I highly recommend that you do whatever research is needed before enrolling. Don’t fuss because you won’t be needing journals and research papers. Obviously, I’m not talking about that kind of research. Here are some ways you can find out more about the courses offered at universities and colleges before you make your pick.
My top five method of evaluating the best course to enroll in at university/college
1. Official website Of course, this is probably where everyone begins. You decide to further your studies so you click on the website of the college of your choice. When doing this, be sure to browse through all the courses being offered. You’ll be surprise to stumble upon some courses you have never heard off. It may just change you initial decision. While this serves as a good start, DO NOT rely completely on websites. They’re there just for you to have a kick-start. And… for the love of God, browse only official websites, not some blogs “talking” about the courses you’re considering. Those may be true but you can never guarantee that they are not flawed.
2. Friends or even better, lecturers Simply browsing websites and reading brochures will not give you enough details to guide your judgment. You need to approach someone who is, or has, pursued the course you’re considering. As they have been directly involved in the process, they can offer you their genuine opinion on how the course is. Is it interesting? What do they learn? What are the career prospects? It’s even better if you can get in touch with a lecturer. An experienced one is even better. He or she would know all the ropes and recommend the best choice.
3. Campus tour This is essential if you want to get a taste of what college life feels like but of course, it will feel much different once you are part of that world. But it doesn’t hurt to just grab a bite, does it? Choose a college, make an appointment with the person in charge or program coordinator and have a look around the campus. Do you like the surroundings? How do the students look like on first impression? How do you think you’ll fit in? OK. I’m not condoning judging the book by its cover but for this case, judging the cover before reading the book might just be the right move because it’s money and time we’re talking about.
4. Education fair To be honest, this isn’t my favorite. Personally, education fairs are only for me to gather names of the colleges and universities which I can put into my list. I’ve been to such fairs and of course, they’re there to bring in more students. So yes, you can get the information needed but what you won’t get is how well does that information cater to your needs. Therefore, this fourth step is basically information-gathering rather than decision guidance. Nevertheless, it’s still one way to help your research.
5. Observation This is simple but yet vital. Say you’re thinking of pursuing medicine. Look around you. Have your friends who pursued such course managed to get their dream jobs in that line? If they have, are they enjoying it? You need to know if the course you’re about to enroll in will create the right career path for you. This is completely subjective and it varies from one person to another. So keep your eyes opened. At all times.
There…I can be writing day and night but eventually, it will be up to you. Studying is a commitment and for commitments to succeed, they need to be done from the heart. Unless you choose your commitments wisely, chances are you’ll never follow them through. So, think smart and make the right first move.
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