My daughter is in Grade XI (science stream) but would like to pursue her undergraduate studies in BFA (visual communication/design/animation) in India or Singapore. She is good in arts and writing and recently won a prestigious award at a short story competition. Your advice?
Sowmya, Dubai

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree will emphasise visual arts and general studies. Some of the areas that students specialise in are acting, creative writing, graphic designing and the now much in demand visual communications. She could even consider specialising in game design. Do check out colleges in the US that offer this course as I see immense scope for it in the future.

Your daughter is obviously talented in the arts and creative writing and a degree in visual communications would help her gain the know-how and skills needed to pursue creative careers in computer animation, marketing, advertising or web designing, etc. A bachelor's degree in fine arts could lead to a job as a digital video editor, media production designer, web designer, graphic designer, graphic communication specialist, among others.

Colleges do not lay emphasis on the subjects that the student has done in school but will need a portfolio of his or her work. If the student is undecided on the area of specialisation then a general portfolio of creative work is acceptable. College counsellors would start working with your daughter well in advance to get the most relevant work organised and ready to go. This can be sent to the college either as hard copy or on a CD. What you could also look into are scholarships that may be available for the specialisation of her choice.

My son is doing his honours integrated programme in literature (five-year MA) in India. What are the career prospects in this field?
KK Menon, via email

Many people think careers are limited to the academic world after studying literature. Having studied English literature demonstrates effective research skills, understanding of multifaceted ideas and communication abilities that open up jobs in several areas. Incidentally, if you peruse the biographies of the top CEOs of the world you will find that many have a liberal arts degree.

Apart from the obvious careers in film, drama, journalism (audio-visual and print) and teaching, there are many other exciting options available for your son including in the field of sales, research, linguistics, translation and the government sector. The stimulating study of literature gives students valuable skills in the fields of administration, business, publishing, banking, accountancy, law to name a few. He could also consider a career in public relations, which is about communication - both oral and the written word. For some professional fields he might have to take additional courses like an M.Phil, a PhD or an MBA.

Have a chat with your son to find out what his inclination is. I always urge parents and my counsellors to find out what their child's aptitude and interests are. I am a great believer in psychometric testing and feel it can help guide the student on to the right track.

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Verma began his career with Ernst & Young before moving on to set up the Gulf operations of IDP Education Pty. He now leads Intelligent Partners in Dubai developing a wide range of solutions in areas of international education.

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