Applying for a college is one of the hardest tasks for a student. In one decision, they have to consider institutes, subjects, courses, peers, marks, passing, financial stability and more. Deciding which curriculum to choose after grade 12, college destination and how to build a successful application may all seem daunting. The plethora of choices that are available today might make a student overwhelmed.
Not only do students need to keep up their academic grades in mind, but they also need to follow their passion. Anything that is complex can be easily demystified. To solve the college problem, students can follow the 4 P’s formula – Passion, Persistence, Patience, and Purpose.
There is no right or wrong career for a child. Each child is unique and so are their skills and interests. With such a dynamic, everchanging job market we are in what is relevant today may not be so tomorrow.
What can parents and educators do?
More than boxing a child into a fixed career path, parents and educators must empower them to be able to transition seamlessly to the current demands of that time. By encouraging them to find their interests and then helping them explore would be the first step towards discovering what kind of career they would be successful in.
A sneak-peak into jobs
Job shadowing, internships, etc are good opportunities for students to experience different careers in real-life settings thus giving them an idea of what that particular career entails and whether they can see themselves doing that job or a similar kind five to seven years later. This exposure itself will give a lot of clarity to students as to what they like or do not like, thus, helping them to narrow down and focus what they would like to study in college towards their preparation for a future career.
How to choose the right college?
This brings us to the question of what we need to keep in mind when choosing a college? Often heard words from career counsellors are – “finding the best fit”. Irrespective of where your college destination is, choosing the best-fit college is one of the keys to college success. The best-fit college for each one will be unique to your requirements. It is not necessary that what is best for you will be the best for the next student. But what does “best fit” mean? Some of the components to keep in mind while finding your “best fit” college are academics – the courses offered in which you are interested, department profile, professors, and job placements. Location of the college is also another key factor that may be important to some students – like proximity to companies & industrial hubs for internship opportunities, distance from home, living expenses, etc.
Social life on the campus – student diversity, sports clubs, student societies, etc are some things to be taken into consideration especially for those who are looking to be living on campus. The other important factor that sometimes becomes a deal maker or breaker for a family to choose one college over the other or one destination over another is the cost of education for that three-four years of undergraduate studies.
Once a student has decided what they want to study and which destination they want to go to, the next step is to research on what are the admission requirements for the course they want to study. This will differ from course to course and country to country.
College entrance exams like JEE, NEET, NATA, CLAT for courses in India in engineering, medicine, law, architecture, etc to BMAT, LSAT, TSA, etc for the UK-bound students wanting to pursue medicine or law or apply to Oxford-Cambridge needs some amount of prepping. SAT the most popular standardized test for those looking to apply to colleges in the USA is also now being accepted by some private universities in India in lieu of their own entrance tests.
It is imperative that the student should do their research on the assessment requirements for the course or college they want to apply to in advance so that they are prepared for the test and ready with their scores at the time of application.
College application does seem like a complex project only if one has been procrastinating, but if the student is focused and has a grip on their time management this process can become a sweet and easy rollercoaster ride.
— Written by Sonia Soni, Career Guidance Counsellor, Aditya Birla World Academy