There a few key principles when it comes to choosing the right subjects;
If you like and have enjoyed a particular subject so far then put it down on your list.
Apart from the mandatory ones like Maths and English what other subject has to be there for you.
Look ahead at any career or course that appeals to you by checking it out on Qualifax (for apprenticeships look on CareersPortal) to see if a ‘specific subject or course requirement’ is listed – this means you must have it in your Leaving Cert. eg Nutrition & Dietetics plus most of the Medicine courses look for Chemistry or the normal* requirement for a 3rd language on most Arts/Humanities/Commerce at the NUI colleges. (*exemptions sometimes apply)
Sometimes it’s wise to be brave and take a subject now rather than avoid it – why, well because it will form a significant part of the course you’re aiming for. Click on the ‘School’ icon on CareersPortal, go to the ‘Leaving Cert’ section and click on ‘Leaving Cert Subjects’ descriptions – this is how to get more informed.
Look at the thinking and learning involved for each of your preferred subjects. Be honest with yourself as to your suitability for it – will it build on your strengths or will you have to put in a lot of extra work to do well? We all learn differently so the important thing here is that you know how you learn best and how committed you are to it. The insights from aptitude tests and skills questionnaires can be of help with this if you are unsure.
It makes sense to bundle 2 or 3 subjects together if you have an interest in a particular area – this can better prepare you for what’s ahead i.e. consider taking more than just 1 Arts/Humanities or Business or STEM subject to give yourself a much better base for a course/career in that sector which interests you most.
Your successes will come from your attitude as much as abilities, your willingness to do whatever it takes, your drive to learn faster and develop yourself. It’s important to enjoy the sense of challenge in what your doing.
Decision making is a mix of emotion and information – you need to know what you’re letting yourself in for and it has to feel right.
Once you decide on your 1st choice be consistent with your 2nd & 3rd preferences, etc – make them similar to your 1st.
There are always alternate routes – use some of the remaining options as alternative routes to your main goal. In past years too many students with high points were left with no college/university offers because they picked just a few highly competitive courses with no back-up plans.
Be smart, make sure you also have one insurance option.
Remember to check that you meet any special entry requirements – if you don’t have these then choose an alternate route.
If you’re stuck then ask for help from family or if you would like to have a chat just give me a call.
Lastly be optimistic and ambitious – identify the challenge you’ll relish the most and choose what feels right for you.
Don’t wait, act now. It will be Christmas before you know it.
The university college application deadlines follow quickly after that.
And then you’re into exams mode …
Open Day season is now running so;
Start with what you think interests you most (asking how it relates to your strengths/talents), what you’d like to be good at and/or skills you’d like to develop – if you’re not sure what you’d prefer just ask your family, friends, take interest/aptitude tests, talk to your Guidance Counsellor
Decide if you’d prefer a definite/career-focused/applied or a broad/open-ended/academic course
Find out where you can do it using Qualifax, Eunicas & CareersPortal
Check out their Virtual Open Day or specific Career Fair – you can get a list of these on the Qualifax Events Calendar
Organise your own visit for your top few choices if your school isn’t doing one – it’s up to you to find a way to get informed
Review the full course details online and jot down anything you’re unsure about – you will want these queries to be answered
Share your insights & experiences with your family & friends – this is the bit that helps you clarify your feelings about these choices before you make a final commitment
learn to present particular information and argue or write about it – communication & working with others
question and evaluate evidence, including ‘fake news’ – we know there can be several different aspects/angles to look at any event and learn to make evidence based decisions
become skilled at using information systems properly – digital & physical (libraries)
learn to understand the smart economy not just technologically but the cognitive smart economy
study subjects which teach the skills we need in civilised society
seriously interrogate what’s before you and thus you learn to think for yourself
learn the life of the Ordinary People
ultimately you prepare yourself for independent life-long learning which you can channel into any career you pursue
The value of an Arts Degree? – it is flexible and it can take you anywhere; just look at some of the people who have come up via an Arts degree – starting with US President Barack Obama, Musician & Producer Fat Boy Slim, Financier George Soros, Writer & Orator Oscar Wilde, nearly 60% of FTSE Top 100 Executives and so many others.