Choosing the Right Courses after Class X or XII

April 5, 2014

It has been exactly an year since we initiated the students help centre- an online forum to assist students and working professionals who seek help at crucial times or when situations have reached their breaking point. But there is a striking resemblance to the root cause of almost all the student related problems that have been brought to our notice. It is more often than not, “poor decision making” at crunch times that sets up the chain reaction that never ceases to be punish, and the young ones that we love the most, end up as the lone warriors fighting it out.

We as parents and educators, need to have an open mind and the belief in our children, that will not only help them choose well, but to ensure that they put all their might in their quest to live their dreams.

We know that parents and teachers/ lecturers have a major say when a student has to make a decision. And from where do parents get most of their inputs from? It is from their close relatives, friends, business associates, fellow club members and as of late, But have we even thought for a while, are we justified in doing so? Who is that who knows our child better… my business partner or myself? Who does our child need to share his thoughts to… my good neighbour or myself? The fact is, the more we discuss about our child’s futurewith anyone else other than our child, and chances are that we would be eventually making a blunder.

After all, the important things we need to be doing right

• Understanding our child – Strengths, weaknesses, Interests, Ability, Talent etc
• Assessing the streams available that suit our child the best and explaining them to our child.
• Shortlisting those institutes that not only provide the desired course content, but that pay emphasis on overall development and growth of a student. We do not need our toppers in the state to be depressed ones at home.

Some commonly made mistakes

• Leaving it too late to make crucial decisions- we have seen students deciding science, commerce or arts just seconds before they have registered their applications. This is just ridiculous!!! It is recommended that we give ourselves ample time to think over our decisions practically and work towards it. Whenever, I was asked about what would be the best time to seek guidance for careers or courses, I have always said “don’t wait until your child has answered his class X or XII board examinations, but have him guided on the conclusion of Class IX or XI. This will not only help him work towards his goals but will decrease the pressure to a large extent”.

• Aptitude tests are not final decisions- Tests are always tools to recommend a students ability to pursue a particular field. They are effective ways to assess ones ability. They only suggest “what you CAN do comfortably” and not “what you SHOULD do at any cost”. Most of the students and parents alike take only aptitude results into consideration and completely ignore the INTEREST factor.

• Marks determining choice of course- Students marks should never be the criteria for choice of course. A student who has secured 95% in 10th boards should be as encouraged if he/she wishes to choose an arts course as a 70% student who chooses to pursue a science combination.

• Their career needn’t be the same as your career- It is not a co-incidence that in most cases, a doctors son ends up being a doctor, businessmans’ son yearns to be a businessman and so on. If a student decides to pursue a similar profession as that of his parent, and he/she finds it desirable and fulfilling, we shouldn’t think twice about extending all our support to that student. The problem arises where the student just do not have the interest or the ability to pursue what their parents have been doing for a living but the parents insist on them to either follow their footsteps or not receive any kind of support in the future.

• Following the herd- It is important to be very selfish when you make important decisions like choosing your career. We should ensure that our children do not follow their peer groups when choosing their courses. If they make such decisions for themselves, they may have to suffer because of it. It is true that young students would like to have all their friends in the same college, in the same class and sitting with them. But choosing your stream involves much more than just that. It could make or break your career.

So what is that we could really do to provide our children to ensure that they make a good start?

• Firstly, it is important to know they have just written their boards or competitive exams, the results will be out in sometime and there is nothing that anybody can do about the outcome. This is the time, we need to get our children relaxed, let them ease out of stress they have been going through. Ideally take time out and venture out for a family excursion or holiday. During this time, avoid talking about serious issues or topics relating to their future or careers.

• After letting it loose for a few days, it’s time to get them think about themselves in depth and understand their vision, interests, talents and goals.

• Listen to your children and only to your children. Encourage them to think practically and critically, without considering their academic performances. Taking in suggestions or opinions from too many people would create confusion at best, and will never lead you to the best results.

• It is important to choose courses that would lead our children towards their goals. And it is even more important to select the desired course and then choose the best college that offers our choice of course.

• Once we have decided on our choices, it is very important to instil confidence in our children and encourage them throughout their tenure. There will be times when they may be going through difficult times with regards to academics or many other issues. We are the ones who need to keep them on their toes.

• We need to encourage our children to be “fighters” and “learners”. There may be majority of students around who may not be having positivity to show about them and this could rub onto our children. This will result in our children showing mediocrity in their approach and lack of enthusiasm and effort.

To wind up, I would again like to remind our dear parents and students that it is our will that shows us the way. And as long as we know what we are and what we want to be, and show the required effort to get there, every field that we choose will have tremendous scope for growth.

We as parents, the best thing we can do to our children is to say “WELL DONE” when they have put their best efforts and “WE ARE WITH YOU” each time they fall.

Wishing our youngsters that each one of you have a wonderful career and we would like to extend all our support for your growth and development via our help centre or


John Fernandes Archives:



By John Fernandes
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Comment on this article

  • Arshad, KSA

    Thu, Apr 17 2014

    Good one. This information will be useful for parents as well as children.

  • Fredrick Pinto, Shirva

    Sat, Apr 12 2014

    Boys and girls have a good opportunity in the Indian air force, navy or Army. Officer post like flying officer, aeronautical Engineering or fighter flying branches. 12 pass in commerce options for Army wing only. For Air Force and Navy wing are required Maths and physics as subject in class 12th.

  • John DSouza, Mangalore

    Thu, Apr 10 2014

    Hi John, your concern and guidance to youngsters and advice to parents is highly appreciable
    Choosing the Right Courses after Class X or XII is a wise decision and needed step to success
    Though assessing the streams available is a right move, the choosers of streams are plenty
    Perhaps the huge volume of pursuant, risk the exhaustion the of limited available streams
    Real urgency and emergency is the jobs creation for rapidly growing volume of academics

    We need to identify and ask the serious questions like
    Which sectors are shown high concentration, where enough progress is already done?
    Which sectors have considerable scope of progress and job creation, which need support?
    What are the sectors and service lines which are over burdened with unemployment?
    Where countless hours of our youngsters are being wasted and spent unproductively?
    Where we can restrict our lavish spending and utilize the saved funds for development?
    What are the serious problems our economy is facing today and how they can be eliminated?
    What are the social evils which damage and destroy our families and increase our poverty?
    How we have been spending our valuable resources by using our talents and innovative ideas?
    How to manage the balance between multiplying available hours with adequate job creation?
    How to cut high mountains and fill valleys to establish a leveled society of peace and stability?
    Perhaps, a single step toward the right direction, help us to reach the mountain top, amazingly.

  • Olive, Dubai

    Thu, Apr 10 2014

    This is a beautiful article and an eye opener to parents who push the children at the last moment. Hope this message enlightens all the parents and students.

  • Naveen, Bangalore

    Tue, Apr 08 2014

    Hi John - well written and there are lot of things that I have taken on board as a dad. Hats off to you for not only writing this article, but also I am so happy and proud to see a smart and intelligent catholic like you. I will definitely try and read the other articles written by you. Good luck with the future.

  • John Fernandes, Mangalore

    Tue, Apr 08 2014

    Ms Priya
    I am totally with you when you suggest that parents need to assess the competencies and interests of their ward right from primary school. In fact it is even better to have them assessed right from their birth. It is the requirement of good parenting.
    But personally, I do not endorse this approach of thinking careers from the age that you have suggested i.e. 5 yrs or class 1... this is the commom mistake that parents do and it is the children who suffer because of the approach. childhood is the time children should discover and explore as many things as they can. we should not narrow down their their thought process and imagination by making them think in particular angles only. It will not only make their childhood stagnant but add immense pressure of achieving results. We should encourage them to think more and more and without boundaries. If you ask me, high school is the right time we can instil the sense of goal orientation in our children. They would have attained a degee of maturity by then to make good decisions based on their overall knowledge

  • John Fernandes, Mangalore

    Tue, Apr 08 2014

    I humbly thank my well wishers, Mr Rifay, Chandni and fly,Jyothika, shishira and gracia
    Eric Coelho,Priya good points added
    Sachin poojary... its been a decade and a half since our school days and glad to knw you are still the same... thanks for your regards

  • priya, dubai

    Mon, Apr 07 2014

    I feel that the choice of a career path should ideally be made when you enroll your kids to primary school. Choosing the right curriculum is very important to make the right choice when the child completes grade 12.
    Parents should evaluate the competencies of their children from grade 1 and guide them to make a right career choice.

  • shishira chinganthara, calicut, India

    Mon, Apr 07 2014

    thanks for this article Mr. Fernandes. very important information shared.

  • gracia rodrigues, seattle, USA

    Sun, Apr 06 2014

    Dear john
    We mangaloreans can't thank you enough for being such an inspiration and for extending unconditional support to young students and professionals. Hats off to you sir you are the best

  • Jyothika Shetty, Dubai/UAE

    Sun, Apr 06 2014

    Thank you very much for this article and it has truly reassured me of my stand with regards to my son's choice of stream as he has just stepped into grade XI. Grade X was a litmus test to our parenting ability as we together with our son have gone on an emotional roller coaster ride. I do agree that there needs to be more support groups available for parents and children of this age as I see we don't have much around. The school's decision is purely based on merit which I personally believe is not at all the basis of what a child is capable of doing in the future. The child feels left alone all of a sudden when the streams are announced based on merit. As it is they are highly confused at this age and expectations make matters worst.

    Our aspirations add extreme pressure on the child who is already going through lot of pressure in the present world. But in our case we decided to analyse our son's strength and weakness and had detailed discussion with him to understand his interest. Finally the decision was based only keeping his interest in mind. He is good in sports and the next 2 yrs together with academics, he also aims at working on this ability as well. The world is much bigger that we think and there are much larger issues to concentrate on instead of making it a life and death situation for a child. As the saying goes "Education is about learning and not competing and life is about living and not proving". cheers

  • Chandini D'Souza, Brahmavar/Abu Dhabi

    Sun, Apr 06 2014

    Dear john, the article you've written is really amazing and a pleasant read. Hope that you continue inspiring the youngsters out there with your work. Regards to all at home. Best wishes from dad, mom, Sachu and myself :-)

  • Eric Coelho, Mangalore

    Sat, Apr 05 2014

    After completing 10th and 12th Grade it is most important and difficult time for a child and the parent to decide the future. Parents have lots of expectations from their child but we need to understand and go by the our child's thinking and mentality. Today the world is changing so fast that as parents we find it difficult to cope up with the speed because of various responsibility as parents we face. But I need to tell all parents to be alert in mind and be on their tip toes physically and go by the present generation expecatations. Hence listen to your child, talk to he/she with seriousness taking all issues into consideration,as parents understand the present situation and accept your child's decision. Mark my words as parent you will never be disappointed by your child's decision and your approval to it but will be proud of your child.


    Sat, Apr 05 2014

    Well Said and timely, Good effort John.

    hope this will enlighten many students and their parents.

  • Sachin Poojary, Mangalore/Mangalore

    Sat, Apr 05 2014

    John Jaany Janardhan Tara ram pam pam pam pam.

    Do you remember this song.

    Yencha Hula Maaraya John Roshan?

    Well Done, Good Work, Keep it up?

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