There has never been a more important time for students to carefully consider their career aspirations and goals to ensure they’re getting the most out of their education. This comes after our recent study, which revealed more than half of young Aussies regret their elective and course choices, while 56% are embarking on a career unrelated to their field of study.
The sad reality is most school career advisors, although well intentioned, lack the resources to adequately support all of their students or, in some instances, lack a real understanding of how careers are evolving in the modern world of work. And, we see this again with most parents who are basing their well intentioned advice on their own experience, which is no longer applicable.
This combination of out-dated advice and lack of resources, often leads to many high school students making a number of fatal mistakes when facing decisions about their future studies and careers.
Here are the most common mistakes and how you can avoid them.
Who said you have to go to university?
As a society, we seem to have become obsessed with the notion everyone should go to university, but is that really the right path for you?
While we encourage everyone to get the best education they can, it should also be the right education for you. There are many fulfilling careers that don’t require a tertiary qualification that will still have a place in the future of work.
Take the time to understand your career personality, find out what motivates and drives you. From there you can investigate the career options that best suit you and determine the right path to get you there. It might be university, TAFE, an apprenticeship or an entry level career role, but it should be the career path you want, not what others tell you.
Career before course
Don’t choose a university course before you have chosen a career, or at least before you have an understanding of the best career options for you.
At TwoPointZero, we see many students who choose courses based on the things they like to study at school. However, when they get to university they realise the subject content is quite different and not something they enjoy anymore.
This leads to some students changing courses mid-way through or dropping out of university altogether. And for those that stick it out, they often realise after graduation their vocational opportunities are limited or not what they want to do, leaving them with an unwanted HECS debt.
Invest your time researching what you want to do, so you can choose the courses that will get you there.
Don’t choose a course based on your grades
Many people choose university courses based on the marks they got at school. A high ATAR enables them to get in to what they consider a prestigious course such as law, engineering, accounting or science, only to realise halfway through it is not aligned to what they really want.
On the other hand, those that don’t get the ATAR they expected will often settle for another course just to get in to university, without considering the potential other paths to their ideal career.
By understanding the career you are best aligned to, you can research the multiple paths that can take you there regardless of your ATAR. This enables you to make informed decisions when you get your final results.
Only you know what you really want
Listening to the advice of family, friends and teachers is an important part of decision making but the final decision should be yours. The people providing advice want the best for you and, although their advice is well intentioned, it is often outdated or based on their own biases and pre-conceived ideas and thoughts.
You should only select the career that is right for you and aligns with your interests. The choice you make will potentially impact the next forty years of your life, so make sure it is what makes you happy. And if you are not sure, take the time to explore your options.
The best thing you can do for yourself as student is make study choices that set you on the path to a career you will love. If you want to take your career search to the next level, TwoPointZero can help you identify your career personality and explore the options available to you. To find out more about our career services for students, graduates and young people, take a look at our coaching and guidance programs.