Why undertake careers research?

One of the key decisions that you have to make in Years 13 & 14 is your choice of higher education options;
  • What do you want to study?
  • Where do you want to study?
In the UK you can apply for up to 5 courses through the UCAS application service.  You can choose from 370,000 courses in 370 institutions.  In the Republic of Ireland you can apply for up to 10 honours degree courses.  Before you make your choices in either system it is good to ask yourself some questions such as;
  • What is my main motivation?
  • What do I want to achieve?
  • What is realistic?
  • What are my personal circumstances?
Choosing what to study.  You may want to consider some of these things to help you decide:
  • Do you have any career aspirations? – if the answer is yes and you want to study something that will lead to a specific career such as law, human resources, medicine, architecture etc, you may want to narrow your search to courses that are approved by professional organisations.  For example to become a psychologist you will need to study a course that is recognized by the British Psychological Society.
  • Is there a subject you love? – You want to choose something you enjoy and want to gain an in-depth knowledge of.  This could be something you are already studying such as English or something linked to it such as creative writing.
  • What type of higher education qualification should I do? – Some courses are most closely related to practical applications in the work place, such as two year foundation degrees, HNDs and 4 year degrees which include work experience (sandwich placement).  Others are more academic and research based.  The course you choose will also depend on entry requirements and what is realistic for you.
  • What course will get me a job? – Your motivation might be to do a course that is most likely to lead to a job, so you might want to find out what industries are forecast to grow.  You will need to research specialist sites on Labour Market Intelligence.
Choosing where to study.  To a large extent, what you  choose to study will help determine where you will go.  This is because institutions offer their own range of courses and not all do the courses you are interested in.
It also depends on your own set of priorities and if the institution offers what you are looking for such as;
  • Location – you may want to stay near where you live due to personal circumstances or you may want to be in a city or near the coast.
  • Facilities – are you looking for great sports facilities or student accommodation.
  • Reputation – do you want to go to a prestigious university that is well known for academic achievement and research such as those belonging to the Russell Group.
  • Work experience – do you want to go somewhere that has strong links with employers and good opportunities for work experience.

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