The Choices that you make today are going to shape your TOMORROW.
It, therefore, becomes imperative that you take time TODAY to evaluate your options so that you make a CORRECT and an INFORMED CHOICE.
We have, based on our experience with students, created this document that would help you MAKE A CHOICE. It is a guide for a student to refer to and take the next step towards achieving their GOAL.
We will cover the following points
- Making a choice
- Influencing factors
- Collecting information
- Applications to the University
Making a Choice
For each student the order of the steps may vary, but the steps will be constant.
- Your choice of CAREER
- Your choice of COURSE
- Your choice of COUNTRY
- Your choice of UNIVERSITY
Your choice of CAREER
Your career decision should be carefully evaluated and based on your UNIQUE QUALITIES. The unique qualities of a person is a summation of the following :
Knowing your “unique qualities” is not easy. It is a challenge for everyone. But, the clearer picture you have, the more likely you are to choose a satisfying career. Here are some steps that you will find helpful:
- Take tests or inventories that measure your abilities, interests, values, and personality. Write out your reactions to the results. Tests such as these are available online and with Career Counsellors.
- Look at your course work and other achievements. Which subjects have you done well in, or not so well in? What does this tell you about your abilities — mechanical aptitude, verbal ability, numerical ability, and so on? Write your analysis down.
- Examine how you use your leisure time. What does it suggest about your abilities? Interests? Values?
- Talk with a professional counsellor; learn about career counseling.
- Identify your skills, especially those you enjoy using, your motivated skills.
- Write a personal mission statement. Write: what you want to be, what you want to accomplish in life, and what values or principles you want to guide you.
- IQ and Personality test
- Course work , the subjects you enjoy
- Other achievements
- Leisure time
- Professional Counselling
- Write a Personal Mission statement
ACIP is a step by way of EVALUATION. It is always better to weigh your OPTIONS and then take a decision.
Alternatives: FIND an alternative. If you can’t be ‘?’ then you can be ‘?’. Find alternatives to everything. Before you start making any decision you should have a couple of options for you to examine and evaluate.
Consequences: By definition means ‘Something that logically follows from an action or condition’. Weigh the Consequences of each Alternative that you have narrowed down on the factors such as Finance, Employability, Quality, and Future Scope.
Information: True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information – Winston Churchill.
Collect all relevant and sometimes even IRRELEVANT information for your reference. Finance, Ranking, Experience, Expectation, Requirements are all parameters that a student should look into.
Plan:Once you have evaluated your options then chart down the plans that you will need to make to be able to go ahead with your Choice. Planning is an integral part of your preparation. A career is a result of a well laid PLAN, so make your plans very carefully. If you need to plan for time, finance, support or even travel, then ensure that you have planned it WELL and in TIME.
Your choice of COURSE
The choice of your course will depend on the following boundaries. Compare between what you have and what are expected in terms of entry requirements to make a choice of course.
- Your interest
- What do you do well in
- What you don’t enjoy
- Your special abilities
- Check what the course has to offer
- How each module helps towards the career you want to build
- The nature of the course
Each country, University and the Course has a specific Entry Requirement. The Grades, The Academic Subjects, English Language, Entry Tests are some of the essential requirements. Check the Country specific details and the course specific requirement when you narrow down your search.
Base your choice on your past experience. It could be an internship that you have done, a summer job or a regular employment that you might have overtaken. The experience- GOOD or BAD can give you a clear indication about what your career choice can be.
Look at the trends that are emerging worldwide to know your employment opportunities that might be present in the future. The jobs will lie in the sector that might be booming today and also in those that are expected to rise in the future.
For example, while most people would expect an MBBS doctor to go on and practice, the changing trend in the HOSPITAL business has ensured that a qualified doctor armed with a Business Administration Degree can get you a job in the Hospital Admin.
Explore the opportunities of today and study the expected fields of tomorrow to evaluate your Employment opportunities.
Your choice of COUNTRY
When looking for studying international, Finances form an important in fact more often than not, a deciding factor. Budget your education and make a choice in accordance. Some countries will be more expensive in terms of tuition as well as living cost, so it is important to know your finances and budgets. If your parents are funding your education, ensure that they are aware of all the options and the expenses.
Some countries are more global in approach compared to others. Being an international student it is important to study in a socially acceptable environment. A student friendly environment and one that accepts your diversity is important.
Studying for a degree means that you would spend a long time in the foreign land it becomes important that you find out about the culture of that country and see if it is acceptable.
Be sure to know the language that is common in the country that you plan to study in. A language barrier can make both the education as well as living, difficult.
If you are looking to find a job in the country that you wish to study in, then you should find out about the rules and regulation of the respective country. If Job option is deciding factor, then you should find out the options in all the countries that you have narrowed down. Some countries invite immigrations and are thereby more flexible, while some do not encourage immigration and therefore securing a job after your degree is more difficult.
Economic factors of the country also play a large role in the JOB opportunities. It is advisable to know the status of the country in that regard.
If you have friends and family in the country that you wish to study in then the ‘Settling In’ time becomes easier and smoother with their proximity. Find out if you have any friends or family in the area and if they would extend their hospitality.
Your choice of UNIVERSITY
The choice of University is primarily based on the 4C’s
You must do a detailed research on this aspect, since YOU have to spend the next year/years in that university. It is absolutely imperative that you find out all information that is relevant to you and to your course. A lot of factors together give the University it’s reputation – ranking, quality, proximity and international student body being some of the few important factors, ensure that you have found all possible details.
- Entry requirements
- Choices available
- Credit transfers (if Considered)
- Fees structure
- Living cost
- Travelling cost
- Books and equipment
- Job Opportunities
In addition to these, for most International students, a number of other factors play an important role. While each factor has a different WEIGHTAGE for different student, each of these factors goes on to help you decide.
- Ranking University ranking: worldwide, Country Course Quality ranking: E.g. TQA, RAE
- Employers List
The concentric circles of the influencing factor vary from student to student. The level of importance varies; hence the influence on the student will be different.
It is important to know what influencing factors you need to filter and absorb. While a lot of factors influence your decision it is important to identify the factors that are important to you and thereby important for your decision.
- Prospectus of the colleges
- Counsellors of your school
- Career Counsellors
- Meet the officials
- Visit education and career fairs
To “ZERO IN” the course and the university is a long process. Like we have pointed out, different factors at different points of time influence your decision. A student should SWOT their choice.
SWOT- Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats.
On a piece of paper, analyse the university and the course for a SWOT. Divide the paper into 4 sections and head each section with S-W-O -T. Once you have made an initial choice, the SWOT would help you into short listing your choice.
E.G. of SWOT of a Course
Divide the following characteristics of the course into Strengths and weaknesses on two sides of the paper. The same characteristic can be strength for one, and weakness for another
- Credit Transfer
- International Student %
- Individual Capabilities
- Student past experience
- Location of the university
- Job Opportunities
- Employer’s List
Opportunities and Threats are usually considered the external factors, by which in our case we would say, factors that affect the university or the course externally. It is not the strength or the weakness of the university or the course. Some of these can be analysed on the following:
- Socio-economic factor
- Geographic location
- Countries Political Situation
- Job Market
- Comparison to Home Country
Shortlist your choices and then see what suits you the best, or which comes across with maximum advantages. A university/course that has the maximum strengths and offers maximum opportunities will be the best option, so evaluate carefully.
As a student you are standing at the most crucial junction of your life. It may seem like a ‘roundabout’ and you are not sure which direction to go to. With each road leading you in a different direction, it often gets extremely confusing for the students and the parents alike. Obviously, if we know our Destination, than our own GPRS system would help, you might even take a wrong turn, but eventually reach the destination. It is therefore more important to know your Destination or Goal. The option of the ROUTE can be many; some are shorter, longer, some with traffic jam and some without. Let your evaluation be the GPRS system to you.
Remember that the choice you make today will not only affect your life, but also that of your loved ones. Although this is an important decision, in no way is it like writing on the wall. Life gives us many Chances; we need to know how to grab it. Chose your course and university wisely, but keep in mind that there are many ways that you can amend it, if you so desire tomorrow.
ALL THE BEST!!!