How to know whether a university degree is right for you

It's so hard to choose what degree is right for you straight out of school, so here's some tips to help you think. Photo: Ginaellen, Bigstock.

For a lot of industries, a degree is one of the most sought after qualifications. Besides industries such as trades, having a degree is sometimes seen as compulsory “tick box” on a lot of job applications.

Although real life experience can be a lot more valuable than theory, a university degree in your chosen area is something that many employers see as a must have. Degrees can take up to 3 to 4 years to complete. They can be studied in a full time or part time capacity, but either way takes effort and dedication.

With doing a degree taking up a number of years of your life, it’s important to know whether your chosen degree and field is right for you. But how do you know this before signing up for the course or getting any real experience?

Here are some top ways to discover whether a university degree is right for you, before you go down the path of educated.

Volunteer or intern

Getting on the job experience prior to signing up for your degree is one of the best ways to do get a practical insight into whether a career path is right for you. You will be able to take part in the regular duties that are performed and gain on the ground knowledge of what conversations and issues take place on a daily basis.

Becoming a volunteer or intern also looks great on your resume when it’s time for you to apply for a real paid position. It acts as “experience” which is worth its weight in gold when it comes to job interviews.

Also, if you decide through volunteering that this career is right for you, that real life experience should motivate you to work harder during your education because you will know how the theory directly relates to the practical.

Speak to those in the workforce

Jump on a social platform like LinkedIn and search out people who already work in the area you are intending to study. Send them a private message explaining who you are, what you are thinking of studying and that you would love to get an insight from a real life professional.

Many people are willing to help someone starting out in their career. After all, we’ve all been there. Ask them if they could provide an outline such as “a day in the life of” or what the pros and cons of their particular industry are.

Also, gaining these contacts will come in handy when it comes to you seeking out volunteer work or eventually looking for your first real job after your degree. These people will have become part of your network, and may be hiring one day, know of someone who is hiring or may even be your future colleagues.

Speak to a careers counsellor

There are many trained careers counsellors that are qualified to guide individuals throughout their career journey. Sometimes the idea of a particular degree might be interesting. But in reality, that career may not suit your personality or your strengths.

A careers counsellor can help you navigate through these issues before you embark on years of education. Ways they may help you discover if its right might be through a personality test or providing you with other choices that might be similar, but more suited to your abilities.

So, before you begin your educational journey, take some time to do a little research. Volunteering will give you a great understanding of what your chosen career will actually look like on a day to day basis.

Also, don’t be afraid to get networking and talk with others already working in the field. They can give you ideas about the different roles within that industry, as well as a real overview of what is involved. One day these people may be your bosses or colleagues, so it’s a great way to start getting connected.

Don’t forget to also get in touch with a professional careers counsellor. They have helped many people just like you decide whether a degree is right for them. Let them help you put your mind at ease and get a deeper understanding of whether your personality and abilities are well suited for what you intend to study.

Mike Smith :Mike is a true researcher and wants to showcase the most inspiring leaders through his interviews. He is not afraid to ask the tough questions to understand what makes a great entrepreneur. Contact: mike.smith@bestinau.com.au