Deciding what to study and where to study are sometimes the most difficult and confusing decisions we have to take in life. With the choices of the types of courses and career options exploding exponentially, this decision making has become even tougher in the recent past. The world is become a much smaller place, with international mobility much easier than the earlier decades. Parents and students struggle to find the right answers, especially when it comes to higher education choices. Counselors and teachers play a very important role in helping students identify their strengths and preferences. Friends and family members play a decisive role as influencers of thought. Social media, and the external environment create perceptions and impressions that help, but may sometimes may not be so accurate.
The explosion of easily available information makes it tough to look for the most pertinent one. How then can students make the right choice of their Higher Education Institution or University?
The progressively fierce competition around the globe has necessitated for sustainable improvement of nations’ quality standards of their educational systems. Most of the institutions around the world have made the teaching and research as the critical objectives to maintain global relevance. This has not only aided in structuring global trends in higher education and promising opportunities that offer a thorough analysis of already established trends but also determine the most substantial emerging markets for international students.
In the era of globalisation, the world continues to become progressively interdependent and at such an exposition the role of higher education in this rapidly growing world serves an influential mean to create a sustainable future not only for the students but also for the educators. The purpose of higher education is to expand the proficiencies pertinent for professional and social activities but also an individual’s person’s self-expression. However, selecting a career in terms of higher education is one of the most important decisions made by a student. The career selection process is an elaborate, long and sometimes stressful process.
In my experience with meeting thousands of students and parents and guiding them through their selection processes, I would recommend the following 5 steps to students to enable them select a higher education institute of their choice.
This must become a foundational step. Students must critically introspect into their interests, skills, abilities and values that can help them understand what they really want in terms of higher education. Self reflection as a part of self discovery stems from a sincere desire to answer and address questions like “What do I enjoy doing?” “What values are important for me?” “What is most suitable for my personality type?” and many more. Many times students skip this and land up selecting courses that are not best suited to their interests or their personality. This then leads to disinterest.
2) Available Career options:
The next step after reflecting on one self, emphasises on the available careers that align with the individual’s interests, values, skills and abilities. Although one may find plenty of careers gelling with one’s personality, it is always advisable to do a thorough research before choosing the best fitting ones. This would tend to avoid insecurity and unhappiness as a result of pressures and difficulties that stem after getting engaged in the career choices.
3) Flexibility of the courses:
Before opting for higher education, students have to ascertain that the educational institution provides desired specialisation and combination of subjects. There are several institutes that offer online courses. If the students desire to opt for a specific course, but are not able to travel in person, they must definitely look for institutes like these. There are many who together with their degree courses, also take up professional courses. In such cases, they require flexibility in attendance
4) Provision of Career support:
It is for the students to reason out whether the course or education will facilitate in getting them their dream job. Also it will be wise to consider the type and amount of career support being provided by the facility. When comparing institutions, the students must find out if they have a robust career service center on campus or via an online portal; and try and find out specific information on job fairs, on campus interviews, networking, alumni groups, internship placements and the like.
5) Facilities and Culture of the University:
The reputation of a university and the facilities it offers forms a very integral part while deciding on the institute or university. Besides the students must be wary of the type of culture, they would find themselves in, if choosing a particular education provider and the facilities provided by them. It is of equal importance to have knowledge of the campus, its positive school spirit, sense of community, amalgamation of diverse cultures etc. Further in order to avail particular facilities or services to be comfortable and / or prosper in an institution, an inquiry about the financial aid and scholarship opportunities or on- site housing options at the first place must be ensured.
6) Choose an institution that focuses on developing your skills and equipping you for the rapidly changing paradigms propelled by Industry 4.0. :
In today's world AI, IoT, ML are either getting deeply embedded with human roles or replacing them. This has many implications of what skills, attitudes and knowledge will be required to be successful in the workplace of the future. Choose an institution which has its eye on the future needs while focusing on the present deliverables as well.
7) Today all youngsters have to deal with pressures of many kinds:
To manage these and come out successful it is important to develop life skills. Thus, if an institution offers programmes where Meditation, Yoga, Pranayama, Personality Development are integrated, you must definitely choose such a university over others as it will be equipping you with the necessary skills to deal with your increasingly demanding and stressful life.
About our guest Author
Rajita Kulkarni is a humanitarian, an educationist, a writer, a global leader and a leadership coach.
- Top 100 Inspirational Women of India.
- Expert in Banking, Finance, Strategy, Education, Ethics, Leadership, Change & Mind Management.
- Public Speaker. Thought Leader. Transformational Coach.
- Building a University from scratch to become the next destination of world class education.
- President, World Forum for Ethics in Business (www.wfeb.org)
- President , Sri Sri University (www.srisriuniversity.edu.in)
- Trustee Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Vidya Mandir Trust (www.ssrvm.org)
- CEO, TLEX Europe and Asia (www.tlexinstitute.com)
- Board Member, AOL Health and Education Trust (www.aolhet.org)
- Governor of Finance, Ved Vignan Maha Vidya Peeth (www.vvmvp.org).