Choosing the right degree is overwhelming; there are many study programs and many reasons to choose them. Also, the thought that you will dedicate a few years of your life to your study program makes it an even greater responsibility.
Whether you’re coming back from a gap year or fresh out of high school, choosing the right degree might be on your mind.
We’ve put together some tips to help you make the right decision.
1. Think about your interest
The first thing you need to think about is your interests. Reflect within and ask yourself what do you want to do with your life? Where do you imagine yourself at the end of the degree?
The likelihood of earning a degree increases if you choose it based on your interests.
Your next stop is an undergraduate degree if you have just graduated from high school. Most undergraduate degrees fall into two categories: professional and generalist.
Vocational degrees such as medicine, engineering, nursing, teaching, etc. provide you with job-ready skills and knowledge.
On the contrary, you have generalist degrees in arts, humanities and sciences. These degrees give you a much wider choice when choosing a profession.
Simultaneously, they provide you with the intellectual capacity to decipher your world. So, before going ahead, see if you are a generalist or a professional.
2. Availability of preparatory material
Choosing a degree and not finding enough resources to prepare for it can make it difficult for students to pass exams.
You can’t always stick to a library and need a platform where everything is present in an organized way. Some online preparatory resources such as Wiley are available for finance degrees such as the CFA.
The Wiley CFA preparation The resource is extensive and provides you with enough material to prepare for this somewhat challenging degree program.
Likewise, when choosing a degree, you should ensure that you have enough preparatory materials and content to prepare for the exams.
3. Purpose of your degree
Be sure of the objective of your study program. Is this an upgrade or a break in your career? Or do you want more education in your field?
For example, if you have an undergraduate degree in human resources, you can opt for a graduate program to further your knowledge.
In other cases, higher education is linked to career development and promotion. In these cases, the reason for earning a degree is obvious to you and compels you to choose a degree that fills the knowledge and skill gaps in the workplace.
You can also discuss with your employer the courses needed to develop your career.
4. Study mode
Universities offer degrees in several modes. Some degrees are offered in online, weekend, and part-time mode, while others can only be earned through full-time on-campus courses.
You can’t rely on traditional classroom lessons when you want to continue your education while working or taking care of your family and children. It won’t be easy to leave home and spend most of your time at school. As a result, you would either want an online or part-time degree program.
Another scenario is when you are a full-time professional and neither an online degree nor a part-time degree is right for you. The only option you have is a weekend study program.
It is essential to look at the mode of study when choosing a study program because, in the end, you will have to manage your studies with other professional and personal tasks.
5. Location of your college/university
Location is an important issue when choosing a degree. You have to decide where you want to study. Want to stay close to family, home and friends? Or do you want to explore the world, gain intercultural experience, learn from people all over the world and meet friends from different countries?
If you want to stay in your city, research the degree programs offered at local colleges.
For a study abroad experience, you might have more choice. Look for accredited foreign universities and see what they offer.
Once you have decided on your field of study, apply to many universities/colleges as students from all over the world apply to prestigious foreign universities.
6. The cost of the study program
The cost of the degree is another crucial consideration when choosing the right degree. You must understand that education is not cheap. Enrolling in a good university and completing your studies is very expensive.
Besides tuition, you often have to pay for accommodation (when living on campus), transportation, books and study materials, and other miscellaneous fees. All of these costs swell into a hefty sum that you must arrange each year until you graduate.
7. Research financial aid and scholarship options
It is strongly recommended that you choose a degree based on your ability to pay for it. But, when you have opted for an expensive degree, find out about scholarships and financial aid.
Often, prestigious universities offer generous scholarships to attract top talent who might not apply due to the cost of the degree. Before you lose hope and give up on your chosen degree, study the program website and learn about scholarship options.
If you are unsure of any information, do not hesitate to contact the university by e-mail. Universities don’t take long to answer questions from potential students.
8. Narrow down your options
Once you have all the information, narrow down your options to a few choices. List all shortlisted courses and study programs.
Prioritize them based on their pros and cons and their effect on your professional career and academic development. The degree appearing at the top of the list must be your choice.
Choose your degree wisely because this decision alone can dramatically change your life. Give enough thought to your decision, consider your interests, the purpose of your studies and, finally, your financial ability to pay for it.
If you need help choosing the right degree, follow the steps above.