How to choose the ‘best course’ to study at university in 2019

As Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB 2019 registration begins, the question on the lips of many prospective candidates as always is: what is the best course to study at university in 2019?

Before delving into the question, let’s look at how to choose the right course to study.

How to choose the right course to study

Choosing the right course may not be an easy decision to make but a few factors need to be considered when doing so. They include but not limited to the following.

#1. Follow your passion

The first positive step towards selecting the right course to study is for you to choose a course you have interest in.

If you’re passionate about whatever you do, I tell you it would be like a hobby and it won’t bore you rather easily. You would love doing it over and over again.

I’m a Mass Communication graduate today because of my flair for writing. When my friend asked me why I wanted to study it, I told him I had a passion for it.

That did not stop him from giving me reasons why I shouldn’t, especially about the professional hazards associated with it but I stuck to my gun.

I’m glad I did and even came out in flying colours.

#2. Choose the right subject area

Subject combination can make or mar your chances of choosing the right course.

So, for you to be on the safe side, you must know the right subjects to take in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME.

This should even start in senior secondary with the right selection of subject areas to offer.

The journey of a thousand miles, they say, begins with a step.

#3. Know the mode of study

One of the criteria for selecting a course is the type of learning you want.

Ask yourself whether you want to go for a regular or part-time programme or even distance learning.

I’m aware there are courses in Nigeria that are only offered on full-time basis, like Medicine and Surgery.

#4. Consider the affordability

While it’s a good idea to aim high, it’s also advisable to cut your coat according to your cloth.

To choose a course, you’ve to consider the financial implications of studying it. You can’t afford to abandon your studies because of financial constraints.

Go for a course that doesn’t cost much to study. Look at the cost of living in your preferred institution or around there assuming you would live off-campus. Check the cost of course materials as well.

When another friend who is a lawyer now told me he wanted to study Law, I was very happy but I didn’t hesitate to ask him one question: do you know it involves a lot of money? He said yes and I wished him well.

I deliberately asked him that question. I knew him very well and I was aware he had no help and would sponsor himself in university. Thank God he did and successfully too.

#5. Evaluate the entry requirements

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It’s a nice thing to know the entry requirements for your proposed course of study. Doing this will help you know ahead of time the school that is best fit for you.

In Nigeria, universities need five credit passes in one or two sittings for one course or the other. Find out the level of credit passes needed and whether you’ve an advantage; otherwise, make a U-turn in your choice of course or institution.

#6. Have a feel of the course outlines

Make sure you’re aware of everything you’re expected to do before completing a particular course.

Know what kinds of assignments, quizzes or exams you would take to complete it and whether you’re ready for that.

Ask yourself whether it involves excursion and where and the cost implications.

You also need to know the general courses you would offer apart from the departmental courses.

For example, as a communicator, I offered physics and other courses I had least expected. One funny thing is that you must pass them; otherwise, you won’t graduate.

#7. Ascertain the location of the institution

The location of your school of choice determines to a large extent the course you would offer.

For example, if a certain institution is the one offering the only course you want to study, its geographical location can turn you off immediately.

#8. Assess the available facilities

It’s not possible for you to study the “best course” in the worst university with the dearth of infrastructure and learning facilities. Would you?

If you dare it, you would graduate as half-baked and unemployable. You’re just good for nothing.

Ask yourself: why does the National Universities Commission, NUC inspect academic departments in universities from time to time and deny accreditation where necessary? Or why do similar agencies do so in polytechnics and colleges of education?

That’s to tell you the correlation between quality education and adequate learning facilities.

#9. Check the school ranking

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Make inquiries about your choice school and know how people rate it including staff, students, parents and the host community.

If they portray it in bad light, then you may have to reconsider your stand.

You can always follow the school on social media or join online groups or forums dedicated to them and listen to conversations about them.

#10. Check the competition

I had better advise you to beware of highly competitive courses like Law, and Medicine and Surgery.

Why I can’t say that they hold a promise for a bright future, everybody wants to study these two courses and a few others.

What then is the implication? Everyone wants to get on board by hook or by crook.

So, if you can’t make it there and then, you’ll lose out and start the whole process afresh, probably settling for your Plan B which would have made sense earlier had you done your homework well.

#11. Get recommendations

Sometimes it may be difficult to evaluate our strengths and weaknesses on our own and take a decisive action. This is when you need to seek help or advice.

So, if you find yourself in this kind of situation, talk to a friend, colleague or family member and they will surely help you out.

Make sure you know what you want and agree with them only when your thoughts and aspirations align with their own; otherwise, you could be misled.

#12. Narrow your search

When you must gathered the relevant information, you should list about five courses in their order of preference and work with them.

Wrapping up

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So my candid advice is this: stop looking for the best course to study at university in 2019 because no one exists.

They say, as you make your bed so you’ll lie on it.

If you study the “best course” the wrong way, you’ll graduate as the worst performing student. Make no mistake about it.

Don’t belittle the prospects of any course because it can take you mountains if you do the needful prior to its completion.

I purposely didn’t want to mention career opportunities here because I think it’s irrelevant.

I’ve seen many people who are earning a decent living in other fields apart from their chosen profession.

I know another lawyer who works in a hospital and he’s not rendering legal services there.

Careers have crossed paths.

So, the question of what is the best course to study at university does not arise.

How I wish one of my students would read this post and become better informed about her career decision!

Recently as I was rounding off my lesson, she was asking about the most lucrative course to study, to put it in her own words.

I gave her the first tip above and told her and a few others who were interested in the question to see me later for further discussions on that but they never turned up.

I could have shed more light on the question while I was in class but time wasn’t on my side.

It’s now up to you to take a far-reaching decision on your career choice and get the intended result later.

Let me know your thoughts on these things in the Comments box below.

Download this post as PDF and read it later.

I’ve also written another post on how to choose the ‘best’ course to study in 2019 to guide you in your admission decisions and future career.

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