Choosing the right course

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Choosing the right course

Identifying one's area of interest and selecting the course that will align with preferred career path is important after Class X, observes Sethuraman PR

Students on the verge of completing their Class X examinations face a dilemma on the choice of subjects for PU; so do their parents. Before registering for PU, it is a good idea to identify one's areas of interest that will be in alignment with his/her career preferences, be it engineering, medical, commerce, arts and literature etc. This will be the key to choose the optional subjects for the 2-year PU course accordingly.

The term "Career anchor" refers to the preference by an individual in developing his/her career path, on completion of formal/professional education. However, for students completing their Class X examinations, it will suffice to opt either for engineering or medical or commerce or arts oriented courses, based on their preferences. The preference for a particular career path is nothing but channelising one's focus to match his/her interests. There is an adage, "If one enjoys what he/she is doing, he/she will be successful." This stresses the importance of identifying one's areas of interest in order to select the course that will align with preferred career path and further career growth.

Admission to professional courses is offered only to eligible candidates after the counseling session. During this process, the counselor interacts with the student, assesses his/her potential and identifies the areas in which the student has lots of interest. This enables the counselor to suggest to the student the branch or specialisation for which he/she can seek enrollment. While the counseling facility is being offered to the prospective students by the competent authorities, such a facility at school/junior college level is not that common. However, of late, a few of the prestigious institutions in India have introduced the system of counseling and recruited professional counselors solely for this purpose and sessions are being arranged in helping the students identify the "right" course of study for enrollment at the junior college level.

At this stage, while Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics happen to be the common subjects for both engineering and medical, the fourth optional subject has to be chosen in line with the specific interests of the students. There is a considerable percentage of students who still prefer 'Biology' as the fourth subject as they want to try their luck for admission into either engineering or medical. However, there are students who are determined to go only for engineering and they will opt for a course in computer science, electronics, or mechanical drawing. There is yet another group of students who want to pursue a career in Accounting, Finance etc., for whom the commerce stream is the best option, which they are already familiar with. For students with interests in linguistics, fine arts, music, journalism, advertising and publicity etc, appropriate courses are available to meet the interests of such students also. It is quite heartening to note that a variety of courses covering different fields are on the platter to choose from, at PU level, which was not the case till two/three decades back.

While such a counseling process helps the students in choosing the right course for their future career growth, their performance during this two-year period decides the prospects of their admission into the appropriate courses. To help these students in realizing their dreams there are facilities available/institutions offering intense coaching sessions.

With all this support a student may hope to enter into a professional course of his/her choice. However, in case a student could not make it, despite all his/her efforts, he/she should not get disheartened, but it is worth trying again with added vigor and efforts and more focused preparation.

Not getting admission into a professional course is not the end of the road! There are still ample opportunities available.

Another point to be kept in mind is that one should not become complacent with just a graduation, but should move further in acquiring a master's degree in the relevant field.

With several changes in the education system and employment opportunities becoming highly competitive, candidates with post-graduate qualifications are the preferred lot by the employers nowadays even for entry level positions. This has prompted the candidates in the professional courses as well, to go for post-graduation in their respective discipline and that is how nowadays we see more number of candidates opting for MS and MD in medicine or ME or MTech in engineering either from Indian universities or from overseas; of late, we could see even PhDs in engineering discipline which was not so common as in science. This only endorses the view that there is no end to learning and we should strive to continue with our learning process.

However, the bottom-line will be the proper guidance and counseling to the students at high school level which will go a long way in choosing the “right" subjects for the "right course" of action to follow in terms of academic/professional credentials and career path thereafter.

(The writer is the head of training in an educational services company.)

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