Choosing the right degree programme
Choosing the right degree programme is an important and sometimes difficult process as there are so many factors that need to be taken into consideration.
The choice of degree programme no longer dictates one's future, as was once the case. Nowadays, the increasingly fast pace of life and the rapid social changes taking place mean that there is a wide range of alternative pathways in terms of both university study and career choices.
The first step in choosing a university degree requires students to rationalise their range of options if it is too broad, and evaluate possible alternatives if the range seems to focus too much on one specific direction.
It is always advisable to avoid choosing a degree based on a long-held childhood dream without researching it thoroughly, and to avoid making snap decisions to quell anxiety. Neither should students let themselves be influenced by friends’ choices or consider only external factors such as the travelling distance to campus or the high employment rates of degrees which are of no real interest to them in terms of content.
There are some important elements to bear in mind in order to make an informed choice. Here are some of them:
It is a good idea to start looking at courses based on your favourite subjects at school. University study is very demanding and it is even more difficult when the topics you are studying do not really interest you.
Knowledge of courses and programmes
Having some knowledge of the programme structure, comparing the plan of study for different degree programes and analysing the syllabus will help you to get a better idea of the type of degree you want to embark on, and understand whether you are truly motivated to undertake it.
Your professional future
The decision about which study programme to follow needs to be based not only on your personal preferences but also on the future careers and professions that the chosen degree can lead to. It is worthwhile bearing in mind that there are highly structured courses that lead to specific, almost obvious careers, and courses that instead open the door to a wide variety of careers: both possibilities must be evaluated carefully, without feeling daunted either by the rigidity of the study programmes or by a flexibility that sometimes risks being perceived as not conducive to pursuing a specific professional career.
The chances of finding a job that matches your qualification will depend very much on your acquired educational achievements, skills and ability to seize any training opportunities which might prove useful for creating an excellent CV.
If you prefer to take into consideration career prospects when deciding which study programme to embark on, it is advisable to speak to careers advisers, or seek information in leading publications and accredited statistical analyses.In any case, talking to careers advisers and your own teachers is always useful when choosing your degree programme.
In order to make an informed choice, you can use the online tools that the University provides to students who are unsure about their futures, or to those who simply need more information to help them make a choice.
Admission to all degree programmes is through a selective or self-assessment test. Therefore when choosing a degree programme it is advisable to have a ‘plan B’ in case you are not admitted onto your chosen degree programme.
If you wish to resit the admission test the following year, the most sensible thing to do is to enrol on a course where the exams match your aspirations, and seek advice from the course coordinator or tutors about which exams it is advisable to take to have the best chance of getting them validated towards your preferred degree programme.
Some courses with a cap on admissions have an extremely limited number of places compared to the number of applications and you must bear in mind the possibility of not being admitted the following year either. Should this happen you will need to analyse the situation realistically and decide whether to change direction completely and opt for something else that also interests you, or follow the type of studies which most closely match your original aspirations. In this case too, it may be useful to speak to professors and course coordinators in order to help you make a decision.
Sometimes the idea you had when you first choose your programme of studies does not correspond to reality or, in some cases, you will realise that you have a preference for studying different subjects to those which appealed to you at the start.
This does not mean that your academic future is irretrievably jeopardised: the important thing is to evaluate your next option even more carefully, by speaking to professors, tutors or to the coordinators of degree programmes which interest you.
Once you have chosen your new programme, check if any of the exams you have previously passed can be recognised and validated. Changing degree programme is not like starting from scratch: see it as a learning experience.
Come along to the University and take part in the meetings and events organised by COSP: open days, area meetings, workshops and the Saloni dello Studente (Student Fairs).