Choosing the right course at university can be an intimidating prospect. With so many options, it’s hard to know where to start and what will lead to career success in the future. This guide will help you figure out which degrees are best suited to different careers and fields, how to choose courses within your degree, and much more.
Choosing the Right Course at University Discussed
Below are tips to guide you in choosing the right course at university:
Check the JAMB Curriculum
Each course has its own curriculum, which includes pre-requisites. It is important to check these pre-requisites before choosing a course, since you could be wasting your time and money by taking a course that requires knowledge from another course you have not taken. It is also important to note that some courses have different streams for different degrees; for example, courses on Medicine are very different from courses on Law. Make sure you’re taking a course appropriate for your degree!
The UTME Curriculum section on NUC’s website is accessible to all students. On it, you can view available courses (and therefore required subject knowledge) and check out pre-requisites. The National Universities Commission also keeps a few short, helpful guides to choosing your course on its website, which are easily searchable.
Your Department in Secondary School
In choosing the right course of study at the University, it is important to consider the department you were while in secondary school. In Nigerian secondary school curriculum, students take some compulsory subjects such as English, Mathematics and Biology classes as well as a few other electives such as Physics, Chemistry, Government, Commerce, Art etc. For instance, if you are an art student in the secondary school looking to further in the university, it is almost impossible for you to study medicine as you did not take subjects such as Chemistry, Physics and Biology as important subjects while in the secondary school and might have also omitted it in your final exams such as WASSCE or NECO. You are most likely entitled to studying courses such as Mass Communication, Broadcasting, Theatre Art etc
Understand Your Strength and Interest
It is important you consider your area of strength and what interests you when you decide choosing the right course to study in the university. While you are in the secondary school, you should already have a good idea of what subjects and activities interest you. If not, now is a good time to take some personality tests and find out more about your strength in each of your elective subjects. This will help you choose university courses that suit your interests. For example, if you love Government but struggle with Mathematics, choosing a degree in Mathematics would be a bad choice for someone who also has a passion for politics. It’s better to pick a course like Sociology or History as alternative if Political Science is unavailable.
If you didn’t enjoy certain subjects, or maybe you failed a test in them, do not choose those as a degree course. Don’t pick something that requires extensive knowledge of a subject you were terrible at. Try to focus on your strengths and pick an area that seems like it would be a good fit for your personality type and interests. If choosing between two areas that interest you equally well, select one based on how well you did in any related subjects or activities in secondary school.
Availability of Course in Your School of Choice
The course you wish to study must be available in your university of choice. You need to first confirm that your school is offering that course, or if it offers a similar one, which is considered an alternative. It’s also important to note that if you have a choice between majors in that particular course of study, some universities may only accept applicants into specific ones. For example, the Social Sciences faculty in the University of Ibadan does not have Banking and Finance department, rather you can study Economics as an alternative.
Reputation of the Faculty
If you’re interested in a course and it’s affiliated with an esteemed faculty, that could be a signal of quality. But beware, the faculty doesn’t always represent a school’s best lecturer. Just because there are renowned professors on staff doesn’t mean they teach their classes. Check for class lists and make sure to look for up-and-coming professors as well as old favorites.
If a university doesn’t have faculty you recognize, try to find alumni from your field of study and ask them about their experiences. If there are no recent graduates in your field, alumni from fields that use similar techniques or skills can still be a good resource.
Check The Relevance Of The Course In the Industry
Maybe you’ve decided to study a particular course but have you thought about how relevant it is to your career path? The best way to figure out if a subject has any real-world applications, get in touch with alumni or professionals in your chosen field and ask them what qualifications they require. If people from your desired industry or field aren’t hiring graduates with that qualification, it might be time to rethink your course.
If your industry doesn’t value a qualification you’re interested in, can you get it alongside another subject that’s more valuable? Or does your university offer courses that specialise in industry-specific skills and knowledge? For example, if you wanted to study business and accounting but couldn’t find any opportunities to learn how to use Microsoft Excel, you could ask whether your university offers any add-on modules that focus on spreadsheets or data analysis.
Financing Required to Complete Study
Before you can select a university course, make sure you have enough financing to complete your studies. While it is almost impossible to project how much you would spend throughout the study years, it is important you have adequate financing or source of financing to complete a hitch-free learning.
Some university courses are expensive relatively to another. If you will be studying courses such as Medicine, Law, Biochemistry etc, the cost of financing your study will be more than having to study a course like Banking and Finance. Medicine and other science degree courses tend to be among some of highest expenses in terms of study. This is because these courses are not offered in all universities, students will tend to make available finances for practicals and researches from time to time.
Number of Years of Study
For courses in Nigerian universities, it is usually a minimum of 4 years but can be as long as 8 years for Medicine. For most subjects, it’s not uncommon to hear about students taking a gap year in between their 3rd and 4th years. Some courses are a minimum of four years and can be as long as eight, especially in subjects like medicine or pharmacy. You might want to consider choosing a degree course according to how many years you want to study. Try to find out how many years your choice of course would take before graduation before applying.
Picking a course of study is an important and difficult decision. It can also be stressful if you’re not sure which subjects to focus on or what your strengths are. However, choosing your courses will help you decide on your future career path, so there’s no time like the present to get started! Our guide has given you information about common career paths and provided suggestions for how to navigate university life as a business student.