May 6, 2013
Important things to remember before our youngsters choose their academic courses
It is that time of the year when both the young students and their parents feel it is crunch time. We have tensions rising, sleepless nights, great expectations, in-depth conversations with neighbours and well-wishers, running around schools/ colleges for admission details and what not!!! All for one reason- Their child’s future. The basic questions asked- what next? Where next? What would be the scope? Just to address some of these issues in great detail, we had a couple of initiatives held over these last three weeks and we are glad to have helped hundreds of students understand how to make their choice count as they step into their future.
We had observed some of the common things that happen before students make up their mind to enrol themselves into Pre-University Courses as well as Graduation/ Professional UG courses.
Lack of overall knowledge of fields, courses, industry
We live in a broad- wide universe. The resources and the scope that we have are abundant. At school and at home, we need to ensure that our children are at least provided with small doses of knowledge on an overall outlook. It is just like, to prepare a good dish; one need not use all the vegetables available in the market. But it is certainly of great help to know how and when to use each one of them. The trend now is, most people have made mental assessments of the various courses that are available. For example; Science rules the top spot as the “Best course” for PU studies and then Commerce followed by Arts. Mind you dear people; this is certainly not the case. There is nothing in this world that could guarantee you a successful and yielding career. The only things that would ensure that would be your interest, your ability and your determination. Therefore, it would be the best thing to do to firstly understand the opportunities that are around you and only fit yourself into that stream that suits you the best.
Marks determining the choice of course
One common blunder that most of us eventually do is only count on the performance in the board exams. It is very wrong to believe that only those students who secure 85% and above are fit for science, 70-85% for commerce and 70% and below for arts. We hardly consider the interest levels of individuals or their capacities. Now let us assume a student, who has secured 90% in his board exams; that student would have not only secured 90s in science and maths, but also in social sciences and languages. So that not only says he would be good for science in PUC, but equally or more suited for commerce and arts as well. If at all he chooses one of the latter, most parents would admonish and force him to take up science just because it gives them that sense of security. We should always remember that it is not ability itself that matters as you help your children choose their courses. It is a combination of interest and ability. Yes agreed that, some courses would give us more choices than the other, but it is wrong to think that one course is superior to the other. Each stream has its own set of scope and foundation to be successful.
Confusion in parents/ students
In a well knit family, no one else understands the children better than their parents. And for a parent, there is nothing more important than their child. As parents we need to ensure that the child is given proper material for guidance, inter-personal communication is educative and understanding is at its best. We would be in a position to help our child make the best choices and decisions if and only if we understand them well and trust their decision making ability. Most of us parents consult too many people and get confused about a lot of things. We invariably, also draw parallels between our children with someone else’s children, which is senseless. No two individuals are the same, even if they are best friends or twins. If we are not able to understand our child’s potential or choose the right course for him, it is always feasible to consult a professional advisor. Dear students do not make the mistake of undermining your personal interests and choose what your friends may choose as their preferred stream, because you may just end up creating lots of problems for yourselves.
Here is protocol that may help you choose a stream
Analyse the interest – ability factor in your child
Let us not only count on academic performances or aptitude test results of our child. Although very important, it has to be said that it is not the only yardstick as we make a decision.
Interest + Ability= Great choice for course
Low Interest + Ability= Re-think on it
Interest + Low Ability= May be able to cope with it
Low Interest + Low Ability= Kindly move away from it
There is one more factor which is very common i.e. SCOPE. Trust me; scope is in everything that we do. If we are determined to be something, and have the interest and ability to do it, we more often than not end up doing it, and with great execution.
Choice of course and institution
Once we have zeroed in on our desired course, we then need to have a look at the colleges which offer us the same. We need to get inputs about the curriculum, extra-curriculum, teaching, facilities, etc. If we like to promote a student who is good at one or more sport/athletics, we need to take into consideration also the institutions’ sporting infrastructure, sports policy, training facility; gymnasiums and most importantly trainers and coaches. Do consider your financial affordability and ensure that it is within your reach.
For students who are choosing your under-graduate courses, it is very important to not decide on your place for further studies before looking at the important determinants mentioned here. A large number of students end up in chaos, as they are initially more particular about their destination of choice rather than course and career of choice. For an under-graduate course it is very important to avoid unnecessary stress and travels. Living with family avoids lots of stress and cost issues in many cases.
Preparation and back-up plans
Good performance in the board exams or entrance exams will most certainly guarantee admission into most reputed institutions. But we should also realise that the percentage of “good academic performers” has risen alarmingly over the last few years. So along with marks, we need to also take into consideration some of the very important aspects like good communication skills, etiquette, knowledge in case of multiple selection rounds for admission. Preparation also includes, keeping all the necessary copies of marks cards, photographs, eligibility certificates, scholarship forms, and minority quota forms ready well in advance. This will always help last minute chaos that usually occurs during admissions.
It is always a smart thing to always keep our options open and be ready for instances where in, we may be denied admission in the institute we desire due to unavailability of seats or merit based selection. Remember, lots of students apply for the same institute, during the same time.
Some facts to remember
- One succeeds in life, not because he/she makes one crucial decision early in life but, continues to make many important crucial decisions at many important moments in life.
- Any second or third party does not make decisions for you. They only give you choices and personal opinions.
The final decision has to be taken by you yourself, after you have thought about it with maturity. This is the only way one succeeds.
- A good academic result will only get you into the next course and college. It will never guarantee your success. You will have to work hard for it and achieve your goals.
- To compete is a choice. It is not a necessity as most people believe it is. Yes, it could help motivate you to keep working but it will never help you appreciate your work neither the work of others. Try to do with your life what you want to do, what you can do. Do not restrict yourself to competing with the rest.
- Herd mentality=hurt mentality. It is not sensible to base our choices on assumptions. For example, it is a very risky deal to base our decision on current trends. I remember during my time at pre-university college, large number of branches in engineering offered great opportunities for employment in the industry with good pay package. So that became a trend for some years. Of all that we know, it takes at least four years to be an engineer and since the takers for many engineering branches have slumped down drastically, unemployment and low compensation package has become an obvious scenario. Having said that, if a student is passionate about a particular field and wants to make it big in that particular sector, it is advisable to help him/her pursue the same. Such enthusiasts seldom go wrong.
- There is no Bad or Good course. There are only different courses. They are only the vehicles to achieve your dream careers. They are not the defining factors of your life.
- Every day, we become more and more mature psychologically. In other words, we become more qualified to take good decisions for ourselves. Let us not base our decisions as a continuum to our past decisions. For instance, if a student who was a science student in PUC feels that he is not excited/ fit for further studies in science, and wants to try out his alternative option in Management studies, B.Com or B.A, he should not be influenced by the fact that he is a science student and if he chooses an alternative field, he would be demoting himself. He should go ahead with his current decision only because he is more mature now to understand his capabilities and interests, than he was two years ago.
- It is not about the college, it is about you. Schools and colleges do play a big role in shaping an individual. But it is very wrong on our part to assume that a student will be an exemplary individual if and only if they become a part of certain institute. A good student will be a good student, irrespective of which institute he/ she is admitted into. A determined young mind, when given the right balances to work well, could achieve any feat regardless of the brand of the institution.
These are only some of the very important issues I have put forward to help assist our young, budding, enthusiastic students in making good choices for their future studies. We all wish they would one day become capable, qualified and successful personalities, who will make us proudly say “they are successful, they are unique, they are confident… and they are our children”. Let us assist them with all our heart and might and make a positive difference. Let us THINK WELL for the benefit of OUR CHILDREN.
In case of any feedback or queries with respect to issues addressed in this article or for assistance to youth in any matters of concern or development, we would invite you to revert to us online via firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We would extend our whole-hearted professional support.
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