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Choosing what to study at university - it's not an impossible challenge!

Degrees are stepping stones.........

Ten top tips for choosing your course

1. You do not need to pick a degree with a job name in the title in order to have a fulfilling and successful life! Of course, in order to become a medical doctor you will have to study extremely hard for a medicine degree for many years but the vast majority of jobs and careers do not require a specific degree

2. A degree can be used as a stepping stone – it shows an employer that you have a certain level of those all-important transferable skills which are so vital in the workplace. Job adverts tend to ask for ‘graduates, or those with equivalent experience’ ie the people who have degrees or who worked their way up the company. What that means is you should pick a course which genuinely interests YOU. Not something someone else tells you to apply for – that’s their choice, not yours!

3. You can choose something you have always enjoyed at school – history, English, maths, science, psychology, Spanish or music

4. You can choose courses you have never studied before – architecture, fashion marketing, zoology, geoscience, engineering (applied maths and physics), language and applied linguistics, land management, audio recording and production

5. You can combine subjects as joint honours degrees – law with French law, biology and management, PPE (politics, philosophy and economics), economics and mathematics or international management and business administration with Italian

6. You can, at many universities, choose ‘outside options’ which means during your degree you can pick subjects from outside your department so you may choose to keep a foreign language going or pick up a new one, pick up a sociology module as part of a geography degree, try some philosophy as part of your maths or politics degree…………

7. You can pick vocational courses which can direct you into a particular career – obvious ones like medicine, nursing or veterinary medicine but how about modern languages with qualified teacher status? Speech and language therapy (Master’s) qualifying you as a Speech and Language Therapist, paramedic science if you want to be a paramedic or accounting - this can give you exemptions from professional exams when you start work, helping you qualify faster

8. You can also choose degree apprenticeships which offer students the opportunity to achieve a Bachelor's or Master's degree by combining full-time work with part-time study – that means you get paid while you study……..can’t be bad!

9. So, you could start by looking at the UCAS website and browsing through course ideas based on your interests. Alternatively, why not pick up a broadsheet newspaper or look at some websites and see which articles interest you and then find out which degree could lead you into that field?

10. Picking something you genuinely believe you will enjoy based on all the investigation you have done is the best way to ensure you get the most out of your university studies. Even if you realise you’ve made a mistake after you start your degree, there’s usually a possibility of changing course onto something you prefer. Equally, if you pick a degree subject you enjoy and then decide after graduating that you don’t want to carry on in the same field, there is absolutely no reason why you should! Degrees are stepping stones……….

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