When it comes to choosing what to study, it quickly becomes evident that there are a lot of degrees out there; what you can do with these degrees afterwards, can vary tremendously. The first thing you may want to think about is whether you wish to specialise within a technical field, or within a more humanistic area. Then comes the matter of where to study, if you are from Europe, there may, for instance, be advantages to being found in a degree in North America. These choices, and what they imply, is what we will be looking at today. Stick with me through this read, and you will find some recommendations towards the end that will help you make a decision.
The specialist and the generalist
Choosing what to study can be tricky, and many people find themselves torn between choosing a degree that carries good future job prospects, and a degree that is more interest based, but less enticing when it comes future employment. As the title indicates, we will focus more specifically on specialising within the technical fields, and studying more humanist subjects such as literature. Many people might find subjects within the humanities interesting, but the fact of the matter is, that unless you wish to become a teacher, there just aren’t as many job prospects out there for you. People take some more convincing when it comes to the usefulness of the humanities discipline; ask anyone who has studied within the field. They have probably all been asked a million times, “So, what exactly can you do when you have finished your studies?” On the other hand, specialising within technology requires a lot of interest within a particular area if you wish to achieve success. Of course, there are many ways, areas and topics you can specialise in, so you should take your time and research the various options before choosing something – as you really don’t want to be stuck in a degree that you do not find interesting in the long term. In short, whereas degrees within technology definitely are specialist subjects, the degrees within the humanities, including literature, are studies that often produce jack-of-all-trades students. I am polarising this a bit, but it is to simplify some of the differences in choice –both directions can be more or less flexible, and each has their pros and cons.
On the hunt for a degree
When you’ve finally narrowed down the list and found out what you would like to study, the next challenge is to find out where you want to study. When you get out on the other side and start looking for a job, the prestige of the university could very well affect your job search – especially in regards to that first job after finalising your degree. It would, therefore, be advisable to check out the rankings of the various universities, but remember to check out the rankings that are specific for the area of your study. Universities do tend to specialise in a few areas, so be aware of this. Of course, there are other things you need to consider as well, such as the tuition fees, as these can vary a lot, acceptance rates, their programs and program content – just to mention a few. It is a lot of information to source out, so one place that is worth recommending is www.schoolapply.com, as they have gathered a lot of the information you need in one place. Also, take your time to do extra research on promising universities – make sure that, if you are interested in creative writing, the place offers courses that are interesting, and maybe even ensure that the university location is interesting and stimulating. When specialising within various areas of technology, you, of course, want to make sure the university has the facilities you will need to pursue your interests. This is a big decision in your life, so make sure to take your time researching, as it will pay off on the other end.
Expanding your possibilities
Have you started looking at the possibilities out there? If no, it is time to get started. If yes, I am here to tell you that there are even more things to consider – but that’s okay because the prospects are exciting! You see the thing is, you are not limited to do a degree in your home country, and if you live in Europe this is particularly important to be aware of, as a degree in North America might just be worth considering. Many of the universities in North America rank very highly worldwide, and the prestige of such rankings, as mentioned earlier, can definitely influence your future job hunt. Not only that, but there is a huge variety of courses taught in the different universities over there, and for someone who maybe wishes to specialise within technology, finding just the right course may be easier. The same goes for the literature student, who can find different inspiration and approaches. In other words, in this case, it doesn’t matter whether you are interested in the one or the other, checking out the possibilities in North America might just be worth your while. Much of it comes down to cultural exchange as well – by going to another continent to study you learn a lot about yourself, and grow immensely as a person. It says a lot about your character, the fact that you are able to do something like this, and these are also the things future employers will be looking at.
Follow your passions, and challenge yourself
So, I promised a few recommendations. Well, for one, follow your passions – If you are not passionate about what you are studying, you probably won’t have fun in a job later on, and that will impact the quality of your work. If you are interested in technology, specialise, help shape the future and have fun with it. If you prefer literature, follow that passion, and it will lead you to a job, even if prospects are not immediate. No matter the interest, do your research on universities and courses, and consider going abroad, again North America is an advisable destination. University is a time to learn, gain knowledge, understand a culture and other people, but also a time to learn about yourself and prepare for your subsequent adult life.