Picking a uni course can be tough. You need to think about what you want to study, how you want to do it and where, while also considering the best path towards your chosen career. There are big differences between courses, so how do you know you’re making the right choice? We take a look at some of the reasons why you shouldn’t choose a course.
You’re expecting a high score so you’re opting for a tough course
After working hard all through Year 12, you’ll probably want to reap the benefits of a good ATAR or OP. Although receiving a high score certainly opens up your options, avoid choosing a course that’s hard to get into just because you know you’ll get in. Opting for medicine simply because you’ve gotten the right marks will quickly lose its appeal if you’re not passionate about helping people (or worse, if you’re squeamish!). Also bear in mind that cut-off scores don’t always reflect the difficulty of content — it may just be that a particular course is competitive rather than academically rigorous.
You think a field of work is glamorous
Do plenty of research to get an idea of what working in the field will actually be like. Talk to industry professionals and course coordinators at institutions of interest (open days are great for this), as well as people employed in the industry and current students or alumni. Getting ‘real’ insight can make all the difference. Too often students choose courses based on assumptions that are more glamorous than the reality — choosing medicine for what they’ve seen in medical dramas or not realising that law involves a substantial amount of reading. Just keep in mind that all courses and careers have positive and negative aspects, so the trick is to find a good balance.
You’re giving in to parental pressure
Although a little bit of parental pressure can give you the push you need to get through your final exams, don’t let parents (or other external pressures) sway your decision when it comes to choosing a course or institution. These are decisions you need to make for yourself. After all, you don’t want to spend years (not to mention thousands of dollars) in a course that’s not right for you. Have your parents join you when you attend open days or career expos — this will give them some insight into your decision-making process and open their minds to other possibilities.
You’re looking at job prospects too closely
It’s important to look at graduate outcomes to see how you’re likely to fare after graduation (see our ratings section), but don’t base your decision solely on a high salary or a good chance of landing a graduate job. The most important thing is to choose a course and career path that matches your interests and skill set, as well as your overall life goals. Why go into dentistry when your passion is in the creative arts? Keep in mind that job prospects vary between individual institutions, as well as between individual cities. In addition, it helps to know that the job market can change markedly over the course of your degree.