Plotting the academic way forward once you finish school

In graduating from school and getting ready to head out into the world of tertiary education, many people struggle to know where to start.

It is a lot of big choices that need to be made and at the age of 18 or 19, most people don’t really know what it is that they want to do.

It is, after all, a decision that will shape the next fifty years of your life. And while there is scope to make bad choices and to rectify them, the whole process is made a whole lot easier if you act wisely and make considered choices, keeping your options as open as possible at the start.

Here are a few things that you might want to consider when making your choice.

Don’t allow for limitations

In picking a course of study and plotting your future you should be following your dreams. Try not to compromise or settle for second best.

If the course that you want to study is not available at your local tertiary institution, then make a plan to relocate.

If the best course in its field is not in a language with which you are entirely comfortable then find out about bridging courses.

For example, when it comes to EAP lessons Melbourne has a fine reputation for some very good courses that can be completed adjacent to the actual studies.

EAP is English for Academic Purposes and it is language specific and genre specific tutorials to help non-first language speakers integrate and fare better with the courses they have chosen.

Be broad in your approach

You might think that you know what you want to do, but you should still be broad in the subjects that you tackle – at least initially.

Ideas change as experience is gathered and while many people never change their minds about their career paths, there are plenty who start out wanting to be one thing but end up in another field entirely.

The point here is, if your initial focus is too narrow it is much harder to change tack at a later stage.

Keep it broad at an undergraduate level so that you have options.

A Bachelor of Arts could allow you to become a teacher, a journalist, a lawyer, a psychologist or almost anything.

Don’t be swayed by fashion

Listen to your heart! It doesn’t matter what people tell you about future employment prospects, salary packages or the amount of work that is involved.

This is your future and it needs to be your passion. Nobody knows better than you what that passion is.

The lure of big bucks but be enticing, but any seasoned member of the work-force will tell you that fulfillment and happiness don’t come from chasing the dollar, they come from doing what makes you happy.

Look for solutions

Don’t let finance be a factor. If you have qualified and been accepted for a course, you must not let finances stand in the way. Apply relentlessly for bursaries and speak to as many institutions regarding student loans.

Be aware that in taking out a student loan that you are committing yourself to many years of repayments, but at the same time, you are also avoiding a situation where you get to be 50-years-old going,

“I wish that I had studied medicine when I had the chance…” Remember, it is always better to regret the things that you have done rather than the things that you haven’t.

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