Tips for choosing the right course in college – Part One

Self-Assessment Tool – SWOT Analysis

Choosing the right course for higher education is a herculean task for my daughter. She has about a year to go before she gets into college. But, she is still in a dilemma about the course she would like to pursue in college. Not that she is clueless or apathetic. She is not made up of that material, thankfully!

The problem is her interests are as varied as her moods. Consequently, there is no clear demarcation between her passion and career choice.  Three years back, when she was excited over the work of a fashion designer, her choice of career was fashion designing. After a year, she shifted her interest to photography. She also contemplated doing a law degree and last year it was a degree in Social Work. Currently, she has fixed it to Psychology degree. But then, as parents, we did have a role to play in her thinking process. We had to point out the stiff competition, job demands and nature of work for her contemplation. Of course, she blames us for discouraging her every choice. But, as parents, I wonder how far our responsibilities go in guiding our children for choosing the right course. My argument is that she needs to choose a course that will reflect her passion and personality. Added to that, the choice of course needs to give her a rewarding career and job satisfaction.

No doubt, children get confused over the choice of a suitable course. Availability of trendy courses, peer pressure, parental desires and job market demands make it difficult for children to choose the right course. I thought I will help my daughter to help herself.  This post is a result of my intention to help my daughter as well as other children at crossroads regarding selection of the right course.

I suggest the following before choosing a course:

  • Do a Self-assessment of the right career choice based on individual personality
  • Take career aptitude test(s) ; compare with self-assessment
  • Identify at least two course preferences (based on interest and aptitude)
  • Brainstorm/identify the place(s) and colleges/universities for applying for courses
  • Check the availability of scholarship, fee structure, eligibility criteria and so on
  • Set SMART goals for seeking admission
  • And finally apply for the course(s) – important to apply in several colleges to be assured of admission

In this post, I wish to focus on the Self-assessment tool for choosing the right course.

I suggest doing the Self-assessment in terms of the following –

  1. SWOT Analysis
  2. Hierarchy of Needs

 SWOT Analysis

As we know SWOT implies Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Take a look at this link from Franklin University for more information

The following matrix gives a brief idea for working out the SWOT before deciding on a course

SWOT for choosing a course

The above are just few examples. It will benefit if children work out on a personal SWOT before taking a decision on doing a course.

I will upload the second self-assessment tool – Hierarchy of Needs in my next post. Did you find this post useful? Give your suggestions too.