“Muuuuuum! I don’t know what to study at university!!!”

For some of you, this may be what you’re screaming in your head! You may want to go to university but what are you going to study there?

· What are you really interested in?

· What subjects do you get good grades in?

· What sort of interesting job(s) are out there?

· I want to make a good living!

· Is going to university really worth the debt?

That last question, let us get back to that at the end of this chat. First, let us take the “I don’t know what to study at university’ predicament, step by step. This article is for those of you who are leaning to a more definite “I want to go to university, but I don’t know what I want to study.”

You are probably in one of these three categories – 1. your GCSE years 2. doing your first year in sixth form or 3. just started college.

STEP 1


The first thing to focus on is – what you are currently studying.

Make sure you are putting in the time to a) understand as much as possible the subjects you are studying.

Ask yourself these questions and get solutions to them as soon as possible –

· What is each one of my subjects about?

· What am I struggling with and how can my teachers help me improve my understanding?

· Am I working on practising questions for each of my different subjects? Understanding what the question is asking and how to respond is equally as important as having subject knowledge.

b) What subjects do I like best?

There will be some of you, but not many, who are just all-rounders. You love learning and you just get on with it. Gold star for you and forever nurture that gift. For the many others, identify what you like about the subjects that really pique your interest but DO NOT give up on the subjects that you have identified that you do not like. Why? You are working on the cumulative effect of focus and getting good to very good results which will lead to you having more choice later on. The idea is to later give yourself every opportunity to expand your horizons through the stepping stones called GCSEs, sixth form, Level 2 or Level 3 at college.

So, back to the subjects that you like best. Why do you like these subjects? Ask yourself –

· What, for me, is interesting about this subject(s)?

· Can I do some of these things that I am learning about?

· Can I create a business from what I’m learning?

· Can I work for a company doing the things that I am learning about?

STEP 2

If you start to really focus on the questions above, after a few weeks you should be able to make notes of some of the answers you’ve gained. You should then be starting to build some ‘interest areas’.

They may take the form of –

· Business studies seems interesting. What else is there?

· I really love writing songs; how do I go about getting into this field?

· I loooove geography, what can I do with it? Can I add something else, another subject to study with it?

· I like building things. What can I build? What other subjects / study would help me get into this field?

These are just a sample of the kind of questions Learning Strategist would want you to be asking now.


STEP 3

Your next step would be to start talking to as many of the following as you can.

· Teachers

· Your school’s career’s advisor (if there is one)

· Family – mum, dad, cousins, uncles, aunts, older sister, older brother, adult family friends who are in similar fields

· Friends you trust – bounce ideas off of them. Listen too to their thoughts and be encouraging.

This way, you are building your picture of possibilities for what you may be interested in, what you can do. You are also going to get a better idea of whether there is space in the market for you to be entrepreneurial with what you want to do and /or the types of jobs that may be available. You are in charge of this!

You may even discover that it may be a specialist university that you would need to go to or a specialist college or an apprenticeship or a combination of two of these.

This leads nicely onto the last point - Is going to university really worth the debt?

Now, this is the million-dollar question! This will be dependent on what you are going to study. You will need to consider the following, and these are just a few.

· Will there be an adequate return on investment (the loan you have taken out to study) when finished? That is, will there be jobs in this area that will allow me to earn a decent living, pay bills and still have some money left over at the end of the month?

· Will I be studying in a field which will be offering growth? That is, will there be a need for this in the long term? Can I develop myself further in the field that I have chosen?

· Will my studies give me the higher skills needed for the UK market or wherever I choose to travel?

· Can I make a living from this independently? That is, can I be my own boss in the future or even an intrapreneur, with the skills and knowledge that I have gained from going to university?

It is by carrying out the above steps and digging down into these latter questions, that will enable you, and only you, to know whether university is the best route for you. Learning Strategist will have a few more follow on articles to this one which will give you further insight to this question.

External factors such as the job market, Covid19, Brexit, advancing technologies all have had an asteroid impact in 2020 and you will need to be fully aware of them to successfully chart out your place.

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