Tips for choosing the right course in college– Part Two

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Self-Assessment Tool – Hierarchy of Needs

In my previous post, I suggested working on the SWOT analysis for those at crossroads regarding choosing the right course. SWOT analysis as a self-assessment tool will help children to choose the right course based on the personal strengths and weaknesses, available opportunities and possible threats.

In this post, I like to share my thoughts on another self-assessment tool that may help children in choosing the right course and further being successful.

Being a fan of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I think it would be a great idea for children to chalk out Needs Hierarchy before deciding on a course. Hence, I suggest using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory as a tool for choosing a course. Hopefully, applying this concept may help children to hit the nail on the right course.

According to Maslow, an individual will think about higher-order growth needs only when he/she has met the lower-order deficit needs. These needs are presented in the form of a pyramid.  Physiological, Safety, Social and Esteem needs are lower-order needs and Self-actualization is higher-order needs.

Before choosing or applying for a course, children will have to see if required needs are met or will be met by/for them. Hence, starting with the physiological needs, they need to move up the pyramid to ensure that they have the requirements met. As propounded by the theory, only when the lower order needs are satisfied, can the aspirant think about satisfying the next levels of needs.

Hierarchy of Needs

Essentially, satisfying the Physiological and safety needs will help the candidate to choose or decide on a course.  Further, these two levels will help in deciding the place to study and securing admission. However, the other three needs will help the children to complete the course successfully. Therefore, children will need to progress through these stages before and during the course of their study.


Basic needs to be satisfied for getting admission into a course are

  • School certificate(s)
  • Required credits and GPA
  • Basic skills such as communication skills, numeracy & computer literacy skills, reading and writing skills
  • Aptitude and interest for doing the course
  • Meeting eligibility criteria / entry requirements such as TOFEL, GMAT, SAT
  • Availability to basic resources such as food, water, healthy environment
  • Ensuring accommodation (if trying for admission out of home town)


  • Financial ability
  • Good Health and well-being
  • Safety in terms cultural acceptance, security, availability and accessibility to health care, law protection for students, approach to origin country’s embassy
  • Health insurance for students


  • Having friends and families for support/guidance
  • Student clubs, career guidance cell, counseling and guidance
  • Membership in associations, religious bodies, social clubs, academic and extra-academic clubs
  • Networking
  • Sports teams, project teams


  • Self-worth and self-confidence as a result of good grades, earning respect from teachers and acceptance from friends
  • Accreditation of the course
  • Recognition of the course by other universities
  • Participation in academic programs such as seminars, workshops, field training, etc
  • Awards and accomplishments
  • Performance in campus interview


  • Placement
  • Rewarding job
  • Earning other degrees and certificates
  • Completing Training
  • Progressive career
  • Emotional maturity

Therefore, after enrolling in a course, the student needs to think in terms of satisfying the other needs in the pyramid. So, the ultimate goal of every student needs to reach the self-actualization stage.

Finally, for those interested to read more on the theory click on:

Love to hear your comments.