Many high school students often have trouble choosing what college course to take, especially those who are in their junior and senior years. It can be a really tough decision to make for teens because peer or parental pressure tends to have a huge impact on decision making at that age.
Because of this, many college students become stuck with courses they don’t like or they are not particularly interested in. Since the course you’re going to take will have a lot of say on the career you can eventually pursue, it’s important that you decide which course will be the best for you well in advance. The only question is, how will you know which college course you should take?
Here are a few things to consider:
1. Your strengths and talents
Figuring out your strengths and talents is one of the most important steps in finding out what course will suit you well.
For example, if you can easily cook a new dish by using some of the ingredients you just found in the fridge, you can start by looking at different courses with cooking subjects such as Bachelor of Science in Culinary Management, Bachelor of Science in Food Technology, and Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management and go from there. You may also want to consider short TESDA courses such as Culinary Arts and Commercial Cooking if you’d like to test things first.
On the other hand, if you’ve always been good at figuring out how things work and how you can improve existing tools or work processes, then courses that will introduce you to different systems, designs, or products that you can physically touch are the courses that you might want to explore.
Courses in the field of Engineering like Bachelor of Science in Electronics and Communications Engineering (BSECE); Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME); Mechatronics Servicing NC IV, and those Computer Sciences like Bachelor of Science in Computer Science; Bachelor of Science in Information Systems; and Computer Hardware Servicing NC II are good options to start with.
If your main points have always lain on your ability to understand and interact with people, however, then courses in the field of Social Sciences might suit you well.
The same goes for any other talent that you may have. If you are good at it, then try to find a course that can help you become even better. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it. ”
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t pursue a communication-related degree if your grammar is far from perfect or an Engineering degree if you are not a walking calculator, but there will be the question of how interested you are in it and how much effort will you be willing to put forth to finish that course.
2. Your interest and willingness to learn
Let’s say that you haven’t figured out where your talent lies, how can you come up with the best decision? Think about your interests and your willingness to learn a particular subject.
You can start by listing everything you like or have always been interested in then try to explore each of them in detail. If you’re not sure where to begin, ask yourself the following questions:
- What kind of activities do you enjoy doing?
- What topics do you enjoy discussing?
- Do you enjoy doing them over and over again?
- Can you imagine yourself doing them for free or for a fraction of the usual rate?
The first two questions will give you an idea of your interests and the questions after them would tell you about how passionate you are about them and if you could actually pursue them as a lifelong career.
For example, let’s say you like comics so you want to be a comic artist. Since producing comic books involves a lot of drawing, Visual Arts courses like Bachelor of Fine Arts may come to mind, but before you actually pursue the course, try to ask yourself:
Are you interested in learning different drawing techniques? Can you imagine yourself spending hours after hours creating and coloring a single drawing or a single scene? Do you have the patience to do days or weeks of research to translate real life images into lifelike drawings?
If you don’t, then you might want to look at other activities that you have more fun doing and take time to reassess what you really want to do.
3. Your goals
Natural talents and interests are important factors in considering the course you’re going to take in college; however, the most important thing you need to think about is what you want for your future.
Sure, there are things that you love doing and there are things that you have no trouble doing, but the question is “Can you imagine yourself doing it for the rest of your life or for the most part of it?” You may be at an age where you still have plenty of time to think about it, but the sooner you figure it out, the sooner you will be able to plan your future.
Are you picking a course simply to please the people around you or are you doing it because it’s really what you’ve always wanted to do?
Do you want to pursue a career based on your passion and lifelong dreams or do you want to pursue a career that will give you financial security?
The answer can be a simple yes or no, but its implications on your future are not that simple. Some people choose a course related to their passion, but there’s the question of whether there will be jobs available after graduation. Similarly, some people go for financial security and pick an in-demand job, and there’s the question of how long they can keep at it.
Of course, things do not always come in black and white. There are no straight answers, just your willingness to make things work, so just go and give it your best shot. In the end, it comes down to what is most important to you.
If you’re still having uncertainties, here are some other miscellaneous tips that we hope may also help:
You’re not sure how interested you are in the courses you have in mind?
Take a look at the curriculum of the different courses in the Philippines. It will help you know what topics you will be covering in advance, so you’ll know if you’re interested in a particular course as a whole or just some parts of it.
If you have some time to spare, you can also browse through the recommendations of professionals who took the course you are thinking of pursuing. They would be in the best position to tell you what to expect from the course and how you can handle them. A quick internet search could also find you a decent list to start with.
Additionally, plenty of colleges and universities provide career counseling for incoming college students a few months ahead of graduation, so they will be glad to answer whatever questions you may have.
Worried about your financial situation?
If your worries about your financial situation are the ones that are keeping you from pursuing the course you want, there are several options that you can always explore first before you make up your mind.
For example, if you can’t afford a four or five-year degree program, you can try to apply for a scholarship grant. There are actually some scholarship programs that are specifically targeted towards students of specific courses, including some of the more costly ones like Engineering, Marine Transportation, and Medicine. You’ll just have to do a little searching.
Aside from that, you can also find a part-time job that can help you earn some money while continuing to go to school. Several establishments such as fast food chains, computer rentals shops, and call centers often hire part-timers, so you just have to find a way to manage your time.
You’re not confident in your talents?
Alternatively, you can also apply for an internship at a company engaged in activities related to your skills. Some of them may not pay enough money or may not pay at all, but you can learn a lot of things along the way, so you could just think of it as an investment for your future.
Still worried about choosing the wrong course?
Don’t stress yourself too much. While it is a legitimate concern, it’s not something permanent that you can never change. No one can predict the future, so the best you can do is explore your options, choose well, work hard, and hope for the best. If somewhere along the line you realized that the course you took isn’t really going to work for you, there’s always the option of shifting to a different course.
It might not be your ideal scenario, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. Just because you dropped a course to take another one doesn’t mean you’ve wasted a part of your life. On the contrary, it may serve as an opening for new learning and career opportunities — provided of course that you pay attention to your classes and other related activities.
At the very least, you can have some of the credits that you earned from your previous course carried over to your new one. You can plan that part out by consulting your school’s registrar so you’ll know which courses have similar subjects. That way, you could minimize the number of subjects that you’ll have to take when you shift into the new course.
With all of those said, those are just tips and suggestions. There’s no guarantee that they’ll work for everyone, but we do hope they could help. If you think this article can help anyone you know, feel free to share.
So, how would you choose which course to take?
Updated Feb 22, 2013