Phlebotomy Education and Training

20 Things to Consider When Choosing a Course of Study

Choosing a career path can be a scary, yet exciting time. Whether you’re just out of high school or you’re choosing something new later in life, there are always things to consider. Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as ‘following your passion.’ To choose the right course of study, there are certain factors that come into play.

Have you been thinking about making a career change? Or, are you just starting out down a career path for the first time? Either way, you should be aware of the most important things to consider. Yes, jobs are easy to change nowadays. But, if you start off choosing a course of study that works best for you, you’ll likely feel more fulfilled overall.

Choosing your course doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. Again, it’s not something you’ll necessarily have to live with forever. But, by making the ‘right’ choice from the start, you’ll have a better chance of a life-long career that brings money and success.

There are a lot of things to consider when you’re making such a big choice for your life. Thankfully, the more time and thought you give these factors now, the easier your ultimate choice can be. It can pay off even more once you’ve completed your course of study!

20 Things to Know When Selecting a Couse of Study

We’ll be focusing on important factors you should think about when you’re choosing your course of study. By keeping these factors in mind, you’re more likely to go into a career path that you enjoy, and experience success along the way.

Twenty things to keep in mind might seem like a lot. However, the more consideration you give these factors now, the more confident you can be in your choice. Ultimately, choosing a career path is a personal choice.

Let these factors be your guide to give you confidence in that choice:

  1. Do What You Love

While passion isn’t everything, it is important in choosing the right course of study. Just because it shouldn’t be the only deciding factor doesn’t mean you should ignore it completely. It should be one of the first things you consider: What are you passionate about?

Make a list of several of your passions to start narrowing down. Chances are, a few of them will be as practical as they are passion-filled. Finding the right combination of what you love and what is a feasible career can make the entire experience much easier.

  1. How Much Do You Want to Earn?

When you’re looking at different career options, you should consider the earning potential for each one. You can weigh things like salary and benefits against your passion for that particular career path.

Perhaps doing something you love is more important to you than making a six-figure income. But, if you’re more concerned with paying the bills and having a comfortable life, it’s a good idea to determine how much you can earn as you advance in your career.

  1. Choosing the Right School

If you have your eyes on a specific university even before you decide on a career path, it’s a good idea to make sure that school offers that course of study, or something similar. Having a list of several possible schools is always a good idea, so you can choose the one that best matches your passion. Perhaps your first school of choice may not offer everything you’re looking for, so having a backup on deck can help to alleviate stress when you’re making a decision.

It’s also a good idea to decide how far you’re willing to travel. Where are your ‘dream schools’ located? Are you willing to commute every day, or even make a move to go to the school of your choice? Take a look at the location before making a final decision.

  1. The Cost of Education

One key thing to consider before choosing your course of study is how much it will cost. What are you willing to pay, and what can you afford? The cost will be dependent upon the school, location, and of course, how long it takes to complete the coursework.

If you choose a field that might cause you to relocate, you also need to factor in that cost. Some areas of study can take longer than four years, while some can be completed with training programs in less than a year.

Some people even choose to cut costs by taking courses online. Figuring out your budget for your area of study will allow you some flexibility, and won’t leave you feeling ‘broke’ by the time you’re finished and ready to start your career.

  1. Where Are You Currently Successful?

If you’ve already taken any courses, look back on them. Or, think about what you excelled in throughout high school, etc. The courses you did well in were probably classes you enjoyed, too. Consider these successes when you think about the future of your coursework. However, the classes we excel in don’t always line up with the field of study we’re considering, or we don’t give them enough thought.

It’s a good idea to ask past teachers or professors about your strengths and successes throughout classes. They may be able to give you some guidance and direction down a path you hadn’t yet considered. It could open up new ideas and opportunities if you’re struggling to find the right field.

  1. Decide How You Will Afford It

Once you’ve determined your budget and the financial aspects of your field, you should then decide how you’re going to pay for it. Many programs offer scholarships or grants. If not, there are other financial aid opportunities to consider. You may need to apply for specific aid programs to receive the money you need.

If you need a lot of assistance in paying for your coursework, and you’re worried about paying it back, you may want to choose something else. It’s never fun to feel a heavy financial burden after completing your studies before you even start your career.

  1. Balance Your Workload

If you’re attempting a new course of study on top of a job, a family life, etc., it’s important to consider what the workload will be. If schooling is your main focus, you may be able to take on more courses at once. This can allow you to complete the training faster but doesn’t leave much room for anything else.

If you’re already in the midst of a career and are looking for something new, you might want to consider a program with a lighter workload. Some courses take more time than others. Look for something that fits your family life, not something that will alter your lifestyle. You also shouldn’t over-work yourself. If you feel burnt out because your course load is so heavy, it can make it harder to stay motivated and stick with it. Finding the right balance is key.

good course for your skills

  1. Talk to Others

Want to know what to expect from your course of study? Talk to someone who has already been through it, or is currently going through it. There’s a good chance you’ll have very specific questions that only someone who has experienced that major first-hand can answer. Plus, they’ll be able to give you an inside look at what you can expect.

Some things to consider asking someone with the same course of study include:

  • What is the workload like?
  • What can I expect on a daily basis?
  • What was your experience after graduating/completing training?

If you have any major concerns or thoughts about the particular area of study, not everything can be found online or through a guidance counselor. Sometimes, going straight to the source of someone who has already been through it can be the best option. It may seem like a ‘casual’ resource, but an individual who was once in the same position can be very informative.

  1. Career Options and Opportunities

While it’s great to get into a course of study you enjoy, you should also think about how your career might develop when you’re done. What’s the longevity of the job you’re considering? What does the market look like? There are multiple resources you can use to determine how your job interest is expected to grow within the coming years. Those growth projections include things like expected salary, benefits, etc.

The more you know about how your career opportunities might continue to grow, the easier it can be to choose something. Think about more than just salary when considering how your career will expand. It’s also important to consider how big it is regarding location, and how easy it might be to find a job quickly.

  1. Are There Financial Incentives?

We’ve already covered a few points about cost and how you might pay for your training. If financial aid and paying for school continues to be a concern, look for incentives. Certain majors and areas of study may be covered or partially covered.

Different teaching careers, medical careers, etc., are perfect examples of this. There is a growing need for certain positions. So, some colleges or training programs may offer discounts or other financial incentives for you to go through the coursework.

  1. Know Your Learning Style

Everyone learns differently. What’s important is that you get a firm grasp on whatever you’re studying so you can carry it with you through a career. However, a ‘traditional’ college career may not be the best route for you. Some people prefer a classroom setting, and others enjoy online courses. Some people need a hands-on approach or actual on-the-job experience.

Some courses will dive deeply into hands-on training and give you real-world experience. Others tend to be more research-based. Determine how you learn best, and what makes you understand big concepts faster. Once you’re able to have a firm grasp on your learning style, you may be able to weed out certain course loads.

  1. Look at Extra Choices

Some areas of study have a rigorous schedule that requires you to complete certain ‘core’ courses. Sometimes these are called general education requirements. Unfortunately, these requirements don’t often leave a lot of room for electives. You’re fairly limited in which courses you can take. For some people who are set on a particular area of study, that isn’t a problem. For others who want a bit more freedom, it can feel constraining.

Some courses don’t have as many regulations. These are the courses that allow you to choose more electives and have a bit more freedom in your supplemental coursework. Whatever you choose as far as your ‘core’ schedule goes is completely a matter of preference. But, you should find out about these requirements ahead of time. That will keep you from being surprised one way or another when it’s time to sign up for certain classes.

  1. What Do You Know?

You may think you’re passionate about a specific course, but consider what you know about it. Maybe your passion stems from a particular area of that course, but not all of it. There may be more involved in the workload than you previously considered. Or, perhaps your definition of what the area of study should be is different from what most institutions provide.

You should never become completely tied to a major or field of study before knowing as many ‘ins and outs’ as possible. It could also be slightly different depending on the training program or school you choose to go to. If you’re set on one particular area of study, see how it differs from school to school. The more realistic your expectations are about what you’re going into, the better.

  1. What Are the Biggest Benefits?

When you’re choosing an area of study, you’re ultimately making a career choice. While some courses can cover several different career paths, you’ll be going down some ‘specific’ road. So, before you dive into that area of study, think about the possible job that will follow. Even if that career may be a few years away, it should be your ultimate goal.

So, make a list of the biggest potential benefits of that career. Obviously, the salary will rank high on your list. But, try to look beyond what you might earn to some of the other bright spots of the career. What about it will you truly enjoy? What are you most excited about? Your list shouldn’t necessarily reflect generalities about the job itself. Instead, it should focus on you and your preferences within that career. What do you see as its biggest high points?

  1. What Are the Dark Spots?

In addition to creating a list of positives, it’s equally crucial to write a list of potential negatives regarding your future career. It may seem a little cliché to weigh out the pros and cons of your area of study. However, it can be a big help if you’re undecided or on the fence about a particular field. You’ll have a concrete, black and white list in front of you to help you with your decision.

It can be a bit harder to create a ‘negatives’ list if you’ve been excited about a particular area of study for quite some time. Don’t let that excitement cloud your judgment. No field is perfect, so take the time to consider some of the ‘cons.’

How to choose the right academic course

  1. Who Are You Doing This for?

One of the keys to finding a course of study you enjoy is to make sure you’re going into it for yourself. If you’re attending college or a specific training program for the first time, think about why. Is it because it’s the same career your parents or some of your friends went into? Have you heard good things about it from people you trust?

It’s not that it’s a bad thing to follow in someone’s footsteps. But, you have to remember your own passions, too. Your field of study will eventually determine your career. Choose something you’re interested in, or you might find yourself changing your mind halfway through. That will add on more time, and more money to your schooling.

  1. Find What You Want Ahead of Time

Don’t go to school or enter a training program just because you feel obligated to. For example, if you’ve just graduated high school, don’t go to college hoping to find a career path there. It’s a waste of your time and money. If you’ve been in a certain career for years and are looking for a change, decide on what you want that change to be before you sign up for general classes.

You don’t necessarily need to have a five-year plan in place. But, before you put in the effort of attending classes and spending your hard-earned money, you should have a fairly solid idea of the field of study you’re interested in.

  1. What Are Your Motivations?

Getting into a field of study because you know a career with a hefty salary is on the other side can be nice to think about. But, it may not be enough to motivate you through years of schooling.

Think about your motivations when choosing a course of interest. Will those motivations be strong enough to get you through several years of training? It’s always a good idea to have more than one specific motivation in mind. It allows you to ‘fall back’ when one of your other motivations may start to fizzle out.

Motivations and passions are different. You can be passionate about something and still lose the motivation to keep it up. Be sure to recognize these differences before making a concrete decision.

  1. Consider Your Values

Whether you’re entering a school or training program for the first time, or you’re looking for a career change, think about what you value most. Have you started a family yet? Would you like to someday? Are you more career-driven and salary-driven? Does the particular field you’re interested in line up with personal beliefs, morals, etc.?

There are so many questions you can ask yourself about your values and how they interact with potential areas of study. Of course, only you have the answers. It can take a bit of reflection and honesty with yourself to figure out how these two factors coincide.

  1. What Are Your Personality Traits?

You might have a lot of interest in a particular area of study, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will add up with your personality traits. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How would that play into a potential career? You should also consider whether or not you’re more of a creative, free-thinking person, or someone who likes facts, figures, and concrete methods.

Sometimes our passions may not always be as practical as we may think. Consider your personality when choosing the right field of study. If you’re unsure about some of your own traits, ask a close friend or family member.

Choosing the Right Field of Study for You

The process behind choosing a course of study is different for everyone. It can be a very personal experience. While it’s easy to get excited about new opportunities and new beginnings, these twenty factors should give you a bit more insight into how serious this process can be.

It may seem like a lot to consider before jumping into a new field. However, by keeping these factors in mind, you’ll be making life easier for yourself in the long run. You could discover a potential area of study you hadn’t yet considered. Or, you could be saving yourself from something you thought you were interested in, but probably wouldn’t work out.

By considering some of the factors listed in this article, you can potentially save yourself quite a bit of time, money, and effort. Hopefully, you’ll also be able to find the right course, so you can turn it into a career full of satisfaction for many years to come.