Need a hand making your education decisions?

Struggling to know which way to turn in your education pathway or career? Fear not, we’re here to give you a hand…

1. Do your research

 Find out as much as you can about a particular option. If you’re looking at courses, what is the course content like? Are there any projects? Does it involve any practical work or does it focus more on theory? Can you speak to anyone who is doing the course? What do people who have taken the course do next?

2. Get a taster

You can’t always get a feel for what something’s really like before taking the plunge, but you may be able to try out an option first. If you’re thinking of starting a new subject at A-level, can you do some background reading or watch some lectures online? If you think you want to follow a particular career path, getting relevant work experience can help you decide if it really is right for you or if it’s not at all how you imagined.

3. Consider the detail

Listing the pros and cons and considering consequences are a good starting point when making decisions.

4. Think about what you prefer

Put simply, which do you like best and enjoy? In some cases, motivation counts more than ability so choosing something you really like doing and are prepared to stick at can work out well.

5. Follow your nose

What makes sense on paper doesn’t always match real life. Sometimes a quality that you can’t quite put your finger on – just going with what feels right – can be the deciding factor, even if it doesn’t match your original requirements.

6. Consider different points of view

Other people’s advice – however well meaning –  is often influenced by their own experience which won’t always be the same as yours. When anyone gives you advice, it’s worth considering why they may suggest a certain approach. Do they want you to do what they wished they’d done or to do the same as them? Thinking about how your choice will affect whoever is advising you, may also help you see their point of view.

7. Take a chance

Making a decision on the spur of the moment, flipping a coin or just being in the right place at the right time (or the wrong place at the wrong time) can account for a large amount of turning points in life. Even the most researched and thought-through decisions don’t always work out how you expect – at some point you have to step into the unknown.

8. Don’t just follow the herd

It can be easy to get swept along with what people around you are doing without considering if it’s really right for you. If everyone you know is going to university – or if all of your friends are taking GCSE history – it can be easy to do the same.  Just take a step back  – check it’s what you really want and make sure you haven’t overlooked something that’s a much better fit.

9. Reflect on your own situation

Most people have different priorities at different stages in life, and sometimes your personal situation can play a big part in decisions. Choosing an employer who supports training may be important at the start of your career, but less so once you’re established.  Flexible hours can be a priority if you have children, or other interests outside work. Or you might choose an option that doesn’t seem very attractive now, but is likely to pay off in the future.

10. Use a mix of methods

When it comes to big decisions it can help to use a mix of methods. Choosing a university? Considering the detail will help you draw up a short list – where offers the course; distance from your home town; entry requirements. Then after attending open days, you may make your selection based on the one that just feels right.

Finally, remember you can usually go back, re do, retrain, or take another route to get to where you want to be – but getting it right first-time round can make things much easier.

Here at The Sheffield College we have a course for everyone. Be it Apprenticeship or A Level, Vocational or Professional, University Level or Hobby, we have the course for you. Take a look through our extensive list, today!

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