With a plethora of undergraduate or postgraduate courses on offer, it’s often not easy to decide on the right programme that matches your interests, affordability, career goals and employability concerns, skills, and the Ikigai paradigm. It is only natural that the dilemma persists. Among all these arises the key question, “How do I select the right course?” Here are some tips to choosing the right programme at the right institute.
The Ikigai paradigm
I don’t intend to preach an esoteric philosophy, but this Eastern technique of analysis has more in common with your degree course than you think. Ikigai propounds that the best of options arises from choosing an activity, which is a balance between what you love, what the world needs, what you are paid for and what you are good at. As a student, you must choose what you like, while making sure that it pays well and helps you discover your competence. When you think this way, then choosing a programme becomes easy.
What does the brand of the school mean to you?
Sure, an Ivy League or a top-ranked school is great, but the best courses and universities are not limited to the top 10 or 50. At times the faculty at a particular university may be the people you want to collaborate with.
Sure, an Ivy League or a top-ranked school is great, but the best courses and universities are not limited to the top 10 or 50. At times the faculty at a particular university may be the people you want to collaborate with. It is recommended that you also consider the climate and location of the university based on what suits your personality. So, choose a programme based on what fits your interests over the brand value. Often, it is better to be part of a small inclusive university where the professors look out for you rather than be one of the many fish in a highly competitive ocean.
Accreditations, money, placements and migration
Choose a programme, which is accredited by multiple boards and associations of the country you intend to work in. It is safer to choose a course and college with more professional accreditations and qualification transferability. Also, research the scholarships options as well as the average pay, the diversity bursaries or any special privileges you may be eligible for. Next, find out about the post-course placements and lastly, if you’re flying abroad, check out the employment opportunities for foreign students, and also the option for migration and permanent residency.
Type, time and purpose
Lastly, closely evaluate the type of degree, whether it is a taught programme or research-based. Also check the kind of time you need to take out from your existing career or family, the stage of life you are at and the reason behind opting for a course. Most importantly evaluate whether it is the first, secondary or terminal degree that you are pursuing.
The key thing, however, is to get the maximum mileage for your money and opt for a prestigious university offering quality education in your terminal degree because that’s what most employers value.
— The writer is Dubai based business and leadership coach, career advisor, graphologist and founder of Optimus Management Consultants.