If you are this year’s SLC graduate and if it’s time for you to choose a college, you might be having a tough time making a right decision. I am sure you are going through a lot of stress and pressure. It is a season of college dilemma. No matter what you scored in your board exam and no matter where you come from, the problems are almost the same. All the students and their guardians are seeking answers to big questions like what to study and where to study.
However, a simple, and the most important, thing one needs to keep in mind at the moment is student’s inner interests. There are some external factors that stop students from following their heart. Many go for popular courses without giving consideration to their interests and abilities. Students won’t fare well in a subject if it is not something they are interested in no matter how good the subjects and colleges in question are. This is the period students need to examine themselves as to ‘what their abilities, strengths and weaknesses are’ and ‘where they would like to see themselves 10 years down the line’.
Parents need to guide their children but should also let them make their own decisions. They should also realise that students today can be more aware than their parents of what to study and why. Students are not averse to experimentation for a right choice, which is a crucial thing to many.
Fancy and glamorous prospectuses of colleges are other factors that increase the level of dilemma in students: Which institution to choose and which not. This is also the time they think of joining a so-called ‘elite or well-branded’ college which can also be quite unaffordable. Another point to consider is that a college alone won’t guarantee you success. In your professional life later, employers look for outstanding skills and experiences, not college brands. This is, however, not to say that you can choose any college and a bad one. Such an institution should meet basic standards—the rest lies with you. Often ‘good brands’ can cause disappointment in you not long after joining one that your dues are high. You should not forget to see how deep your father’s pocket is.
We don’t get good career counselling in Nepal. If any, these are guided by business motives. So a student is left to depend on his/her own wisdom. They should not readily believe what a prospectus claims or what college officials say. Students and guardians should take a look at the college, including its successes and failures in the past few years, before making a decision to choose it. A student’s highest score does not count if the overall result in the board examination is poor. Talk to graduates from the college, look at its libraries, laboratories and other infrastructures.
Don’t buy the rumour that is doing rounds in town. Depend on your own research on the recent developments. For instance, there are some courses such as journalism, travel and tourism that gained popularity lately. Until a few years back, there were a small number of media houses, employing a not-so-big number of people. Now, people have come to see journalism as a glamorous subject. Also, with an enormous growth in the bank and financial institution sector, there is an increased interest in management. Social science has an equally large scope in professional life. Good colleges are responding positively to the growing demand for new courses. At present, it’s not just medicine and engineering that matter. One is not predestined to have a particular career. Innovative students can view career from various points. Do not follow the crowd and don’t let your peer force you a decision. Realise your potential. Remember that “a college is a match to be made, not a prize to be won.”
(Bashyal graduated from a Kathmandu-based higher secondary school in 2009. He can be reached at www.pradeepbasyal.com.np)
(Source: Published on The Kathmandu Post, June 27)