Which course to choose

Factors to consider

Learners who decide to go onto higher level study straight after school or college have different things to consider than those who are considering higher education when they are older. Older learners may have additional factors to consider such as family commitments or existing work. This will have an impact not only on course choice but also the institute they actual decide to study at.

Many people are not sure what their career plans are for the future. That's okay, as employers are often looking for people who have a degree level qualification and can be less concerned about the specific subject. That means that any sort of degree can lead to a professional and managerial opportunity.

Questions to ask 

A few things your students should consider:

  • Do they have a future career in mind?
  • What do they enjoy studying?
  • What do they not enjoy studying?
  • What are they good at?
  • What current qualifications do they already have?
  • What work experience do they already have?
  • How do they learn best (choosing a course that suits their learning style can be key)?
  • Which method of assessment do they prefer?

Their course choice needs to be realistic choices both in terms of what they like and their target grades.

  • Read this, which shows the steps to choosing a uni course

What your learners choose, and the way they study, will depend on what they want and need from a qualification.

Choosing a specific or general course

Your learners may already have a future career in mind, which can make choosing a Higher Educational level course easier. However, they need to research which qualifications they will need for a specific career, as some which are very job-focused (such as architecture, dentistry, and nursing) require a specific degree to get started.

The National Careers Service is a good place to start investigating ideas, as they show job profiles which include routes into careers and qualifications needed.

More information on course choice is available in our Informed Choices section.

Useful websites

Below are a few websites to help learners select the right course for them: 

If your learners have no idea where to start this website has a Study Interest Questionnaire, which provides degree subject suggestion based on their answers.

This sites compares courses from different universities. You can see what students thought of the course (through the National Students Survey), the average salaries after finishing, how many students go into managerial or professional level work, how much teaching time you can expect on the course... and much more.

This has lots of information and filters to help learners  find a course to suit their needs. It also has information on how competitive a course is by telling you the percentage of students applying who receive an offer.

This website contains useful information on what jobs you  can do with different degree subjects.

This has lots of information about searching and applying for university, including dates for open days (it also has revision materials for A Levels and GCSEs).

This website provides information about part time, full time and short courses.