Choosing a college is directly linked to the career path you wish to take. There are so many colleges, universities and technikons that offer an array of specialised programmes for learners in different fields. Depending on what it is, some places specialise in fields more than others. This is a massive advantage, but it also puts more pressure on your pocket. So, before you make any hasty decisions, based on what your friends are doing, try to take all these factors into consideration:
Start with who you are
First of all, understand the purpose behind your decision. What are you interested in, why are you choosing that line of work and/or area and what opportunities does that institute offer you? Many people don’t know what they want to do after school so they begin studying something they’re not passionate about, just to keep busy. This is a waste of time and money. Tertiary education is costly, so you need to choose something for the right reasons. Speak to a professional or your parents before making a decision. This is not about your friends and their movements. It’s about your future.
The size of the institute needs to work for you
It’s not practical attending a large university, with classes of 100+ students, simply because you want to be there. If you have difficulty in learning, this type of environment will not be conducive to your health. Although it’s an exciting adventure, and for most, their first shot at freedom, but this is the time to focus on what really matters. Smaller colleges in South Africa can offer you more attention for less, and with fewer people. It’s all about what works for you and your circumstances. Remember: you don’t need to have things figured out. Start with what you’re interested in, and thereafter your interests will guide you.
- The place where you study will not guarantee your success
This is one of those things that many students don’t understand. Where you come from does not determine your success. It’s the same with schools and colleges. The place you attend will not grant you any more opportunities than what you would receive if you made an effort to look for them. The type of person you are and your drive will determine the direction you will go. When you enter the working world, companies start looking for personalities and basic skills. Often people who have attended one of the top universities in the country will still disappoint. So, be specific with your reasoning behind the tertiary institute you choose. The college brand-name is not going to take you to new heights.
Don’t exclude an option because of your fear of being rejected
Going to college tests you. It’s the next big thing before entering the working world, where rejection is a regular occurrence. If you have good grades and you’re determined to study something, don’t let your fear of rejection keep you from applying. And, even if you do get rejected for something, try somewhere else. There is such a wide scope of options. Something will work out for you, and whatever that may be, was meant to be. If you need some assistance with the application process, each college or university will have someone who can assist you. They’ll give you all the advice you need.
There’s a time and place for everything
Depending on where you’re going and what you’re studying, the course prices are going to differ. Knowing that, don’t just make an assumption that you will not be able to afford it. There are many institutions which cater for people with lower budgets, as well as online courses and workshops which can be an alternative in the beginning. Make sure you do some research before you choose a specific place.
This goes hand-in-hand with time. If you cannot afford it now, that is okay. It is never too late to educate yourself, so if you need to take a year off to earn some money and save, then do so. Some students need that break to get a better understanding of what they want to study, and excel in it when they do it.
Make sure you fit the spec
What students need to understand is that wherever you study, it needs to work for you. Don’t attend a college just because your friends are. This is an opportunity for you to enjoy what you want to do and grow as an individual. You need to find your own person and do something that will benefit you, not your friends. Perhaps the environment and the culture is not fit for you. And, that is okay.
Go to open days, read up about the place online to see the type of people who study there and what their interests are. Much like school days, this is where you are going to be spending most of your time, so it actually needs to interest you and get your excited about your career choice.