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How do you know what you want to study?

(10 Posts)
Lipsy234 Wed 30-Nov-16 15:55:28

At uni,
Do you just go with what youre good at? Or what you enjoy doing? Or where the moneys at?

yeOldeTrout Wed 30-Nov-16 22:26:45

wish I knew! Trying to advise DD.

bojorojo Thu 01-Dec-16 11:56:36

What you are good at. Absolutely no question! It would be dreadful to spend 3 or 4 years doing something you are not suited to and wishing you had done something else.

Many degrees are not an end in themselves. Maybe Engineering and Medicine and Veterinary Science (and other vocational degrees) lead directly to careers, although plenty of engineering graduates never get near designing anything ever again. They work in the City.

I think the trick is not to look just at subjects studied at school. Look more widely. What about personal attributes? Is the young person a quiet bookworm or fun and gregarious, or both when they need to be?

Where is the money at? Exactly? What precise degree will lead you to "where the money's at"? Often personal attributes come into play when so many graduates have identical degrees and A levels. Lots of well paid jobs are recruiting from a very wide selection of graduates with a wide variety of degrees. However, I do think going to the best university you can is still a good piece of advice. I also think getting a first is overrated. Some courses give out very few firsts, others sprinkle them like confetti. A well respected academic degree (2:1 or above), with skills that will be useful in the job market, is important. I also think employers rarely care too much about each module of an undergraduate degree (although perhaps more on some science degrees). They are looking at the whole person, so internships and work experience is a key element to getting a well-paid job too. You cannot just rely on a degree to get you through the door. A few, such as PPE at Oxford, will probably take you anywhere!

What area are your DC's looking into?

yeOldeTrout Thu 01-Dec-16 21:45:54

yeah... but sometimes it's good to do something challenging or even outside one's comfort zone. I didn't study math at Uni just because I thought I wasn't great at it (I was actually ok with plenty of potential).

bojorojo Thu 01-Dec-16 22:14:06

Most courses are challenging enough without being out of one's comfort zone. The employment situation means good grades are necessary and if you are unsure, it can be better to play safe. My DD didn't fancy doing an ab initio language. She preferred to do the ones she had done at A level. Obviously some students take the riskier route but a good starting point is looking at what you really enjoy and what you want to achieve.

yeOldeTrout Fri 02-Dec-16 08:15:50

Yet I'm so glad I didn't follow that advice... and rather wish I had not followed it even more! My family did humanities. I was told I was amazing at English & passable at math. I thought I should be a fiction writer. I had poor exposure to science. Partly because of a science-mad boyfriend's family I met when I was almost 20, I ended up in a computing specialism of an interdisciplinary science. I now write a lot... scientific reports.

Only regret is wishing I had done science properly at Uni, been less easily discouraged from it.

bojorojo Fri 02-Dec-16 16:48:50

But you can only do science at university if you have science A levels so the choices were made early. No-one has to follow what their family is good at. It is what the student is good at. What subjects are they comfortable with. The vast majority of people do end up knowing if they are scientists or English lit before they choose A levels. In adult life - people change careers. New opportunities come along and thus can be exciting but these days it is a massively expensive punt to go to university to study something out of your comfort zone and not get a good degree. Times are so different now and what adults did years ago (or wish they had done) may not be the best advice right now.

Heatherbell1978 Fri 02-Dec-16 16:56:22

I think you need to look at a combo of things you like and future employment prospects. I went to uni in 1995 and my parents gave me zero advice. I didn't have a clue about jobs I could do in the future. Parents were doctor and nurse and that's all they knew. The only advice my dad gave me was don't be a nurse as you're too smartconfused But I did actually want to do nursing. I ended up studying Environmental Science as I enjoyed it but it didn't don't occur to me until half way through the course that I didnt fancy any jobs related to it. Thankfully back then graduate programmes were easier to get into and didn't need a related degree so I ended up in banking. I've had a really good career but never really found my calling in life.

TwitterQueen1 Fri 02-Dec-16 16:57:19

You must study what you enjoy most. Forget the money side of things. If you get a good degree and make the most of your time, you will come out the other end a more-rounded, better education, more self-confident, happier person. And this is what will help you most in your career.

I trained to be a teacher - never did it.
Family relative did history - went into banking
Friend did history - went into s/w dev and IT project mgmt.

Your choice of degree will not limit you.

Agadooo Sun 12-Feb-17 20:11:03

Definitely areas you enjoy and are good at- look at all the different career families out there and start narrowing them down once u know exactly what is involved in each- make a short list then look at personal qualities needed for each n see if it sounds like you.

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