“You must ick the right university subject” – well, that’s easier said than done.  What if you have no clue what to study? Or, you like different subjects and can’t decide? Here are 5 tips to get you started.

1.  Ask Yourself

Why Do You Want to Go to University?

Do you love studying and learning new things? Do you need a higher level education to get a good job? Does your family expect you to get a degree? Or is it because ‘everyone goes to university these days’?

Whatever your reasons, make sure you take some time to think about them.

If you’re not clear about your own motivations to go to university, how can you choose the right subject to study?

What subjects did you like most at school and why?

Thinking about the subjects you’ve studied in the past, is there at least one that you would like to understand better and study for a few more years?

Remember, at university, you can choose from hundreds of subjects, not just the small number offered at school. However, maybe you liked the sciences better than languages, or maybe you loved practical subjects more.

Think about what you really enjoy, why and whether you can imagine yourself studying that subject for three or four years.

What do you like doing outside of school?

You don’t always have to have studied a subject at school to study it at university. In fact, many students apply to subjects that they have never studied before.

So, if none of the subjects you took at school really inspire you, think about your interests outside school.

What activities do you enjoy and find interesting? For example, when you read books, newspapers, magazines, online blogs – is it always on a particular subject (like sports, fashion, politics, culture, etc.)?

Think about your interests and how you can combine them with your university studies.

What would you like to do after finishing your degree?

Thinking about your long-term goals will also help you choose a subject to study at university.

Do you have a clear idea of what you want to do after your degree?  Is there a specific career that you would like to enter?  Or perhaps you are planning to apply for a Masters course after finishing your degree?

If you know what your future aims may be, plan ahead.  Find out if there are any specific qualifications in a specific subject that you need.

What are your grades like?

Another important thing to consider when choosing your university subject is, do you have the right qualifications to get in?

Some university subjects are very popular and are more difficult to enrol in than others.  Some are very demanding and have high entry grades.

Could you apply to any subject you like?

Be ambitious, but realistic.

2.  Talk To People That Know You

Your Family and Friends

If you have been thinking of some university subjects, but aren’t sure they are the right choice, you will find that talking about them can help you clarify your ideas.

Also, perhaps a friend or someone in your family has studied or is working in the area that interests you.  Speak with them about their experience and ask if they have any advice for you.

Your Teachers

Your teachers know you and should be able to help you understand which areas you are strong in, and which areas you seem less enthusiastic about.  Speak to a teacher that you trust and that you feel could advise you in this area.

However, remember, you’re just asking for advice.  Simply relying on someone’s opinion about you is not how to choose a subject to study at university.

Do consider advice amongst other information.  But ultimately, you have to be convinced you’re making the right choice.

3.  Find Out About Careers

Does Your School Offer Careers Advice?

If your school offers careers advice, make sure you take advantage of it.

Meet with your careers adviser to talk to him or her about your interests and ideas.  The adviser can give you some tips about further study and career options.  He or she may also be able to offer you interview or test preparation.

Can You Get Work Experience?

If you’re thinking of working in a specific field after finishing your university studies, you might want to choose a university subject that will help you with this.  It might be a good idea to find out more about your ideal career before you apply to university.

Work experience – whether paid or unpaid – is a great way to find out the ins and outs of what it’s like to work in a particular area.  You may find that you wouldn’t actually like to work in this area in future  – or that it’s exactly what you want to do.

Also, it’s always very useful to have work experience on your CV and to have business contacts for the future.

4.  Contact UK Universities

Find Out About UK Education Events

Staff from UK universities travel to many countries around the world to meet students at education exhibitions and other events.

Find out if there are any British Council or other education fairs happening in a city near you.  They’re a great opportunity to find out about the universities and their courses.

You also get a chance to speak directly with university staff – about your interests, your qualifications and the options available to you.

Attend Online University Presentations

Many UK universities hold online webinars to help students with their question about how to choose a subject to study.

If you’re interested in studying with a specific university, find out from their website if they’re planning to hold a webinar soon.

You can attend a webinar from anywhere in the world.  All you need is a computer or laptop and a  good internet connection.

5.  Search Online for University Courses

Browse University Subjects

Once you have an approximate idea of what subject(s) you could be interested in, have a look at some of the online course directories . This will help you get familiar with the many options and different specialisations available.

Start with these two sites:

UCAS – This is the British Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.  When you apply to your university course, you apply using UCAS.

Education UK – This is the British Council’s official website for international students.

Summary

It will be easier for you to decide how to choose a subject to study if you take the time to think about why you want to go university.

Ask for advice, but if there’s a subject that you really like, find out more about it, even if not everyone agrees with your choice.

The most important thing is that whatever you choose matches your own interests, qualifications and abilities.

If the thought of studying a particular subject for at least three years makes you happy, go for it!

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