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Career Exploration

You must have decided to enroll in a university for higher studies, but it is a challenging task to decide what and where you should study. The aim of this article is to provide you with some tips on how you can segregate over 300 universities and thousands of UCAS courses into clear options. This will help you save money and time as you will be able to clearly decide which subject you should study and in which university.


You can break down the list of subjects that you are considering into three categories and ask yourself questions as to why you should take up each one. This makes it easy for you to decide as to which subject is right for you.

Is It a Subject that You Have Studied Before?

To give you an example, you could have loved English literature at GCSE, A-level, etc. You could also have read novels during leisure time. The question that you need to ask yourself is whether securing a degree in English the right option in your case?

Will you find the subject to be interesting for the next 3 to 4 years?

Will you find it motivating enough to research and work independently?

What is it that you want to do after your university studies?

Will the subject you want to study have an impact on your career?

Ultimately, you may obtain a degree, but what is your plan for earning a living? It is, therefore, worth noting at this juncture that for several careers, the subject studied is not a matter of concern at all.

Does the Subject Relate to a Career Idea?

For work experience, you might have taken up projects in the office of a real estate agent. Based on this experience, you may consider pursuing a degree program in real estate management. This will help you to become a professional surveyor. Sometimes, your goal may be to become a journalist.

How does the related industry view the subject that you are planning to study?

Do you really need to study the subject to get a job in the industry to which it is linked? It is not necessary to obtain a journalism degree to become a journalist. Any degree is acceptable.

Do you have enough work experience to decide whether this career path is the right option in your case?

Does the Subject Relate to Something New?

To give you an example, you might have been fascinated by computers and Internet and mathematics as a subject. Therefore, you may consider securing a computer science degree which you may not have studied before.

Are you aware of what is involved? You can speak to a career adviser, research online and explore in detail as regards the modules that you will have to study.

Why do you want to study this subject? You need to clearly know this. Is it to build a specific career path? Is it to broaden your horizon? Is it because your sibling studied the course? Is it because the university near to your home offers this course?

Not Clear Yet?

You can also think about:

Joint honors: In this course, you study a subject that you are familiar with and also one another new subject. For example, you combine geography with a subject related to a career, say, planning.

Scottish university courses: Many universities in Scotland allow you to apply for one named degree, say, politics, wherein a wide range of subjects will be covered in the first year. However, you can continue to study politics or specialize in some other subject in the second year.


After deciding as to which subject you should study, you can start thinking about the university where you want to continue your studies for the next few years. Here are a few points you can consider:

#1: Course Content

The names of courses may be the same, but the content can vary from one university to another.

Have you read in detail the course content outlined by the university?

Can you prepare yourself to pursue this course?

#2: Type of Assessment

For example, the assessment for a course in BTEC National in business studies may be based on exams. This might be a great change when you move from college to the university. Will this cause a problem to you?

Which assessment method best suits you? Exams, practical, coursework, group projects, or presentations; generally assessment will be based on a mix of all these.

Universities usually specify a percentage breakdown of these assessments. Have you checked the university’s website to have a clear understanding about this?

#3: Grade Requirements

When you fill in your UCAS application (UK equivalent to College Board), you are required to provide five courses for which you are likely to get the grades. Depending on which university makes an offer to you, you have to decide your first and second options.

#4: Location

For financial reasons, you may want to continue to stay at home. Or else, you may prefer to study in a city campus, a greenfield campus that is away from the town, or a college offering degrees.

Do you think living at home is a more affordable option in your case? How much will you have to pay as tuition fees?

Have you visited some universities to know which environment is more suitable to you?

#5: Reputation

Get suggestions from friends, family members, teachers, advisers and league tables as regards the courses you can consider, but follow your dream. When considering course content, grade requirements and assessment methods being followed by a university, give location the top priority.

If you are considering league tables, then are you only looking at higher ranking universities that you know of? Can you explore some of the other universities as well?

What about other students? Consider the student satisfaction scores of universities and read the experiences shared by current students.

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