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How to choose the right degree program after the 12th?

Anu comes from a family of eminent Lawyers. It was evident for everyone that once she completes her 12th Standard, she would graduate with a law degree. As expected, after completing her law degree, she went on to work as an Associate with a corporate firm that only had an international clientele.  But she didn’t enjoy her work one bit and was feeling frustrated. She found the job depressing and was contemplating to quit her job and do something that would excite her. What was that something, she wasn’t sure. She was disturbed and apprehensive thinking about her future. She started wondering where did she go wrong? Why was she not happy in spite of being successful in her career? She did everything expected of her, while parents and friends influenced her choices in life. She didn’t realize that the root cause of her unhappiness was that she was not living her life as she had not explored enough to understand her passion. How can anyone be enthusiastic and happy if they are not living their life, dreams, and aspirations?

Why choosing an appropriate course a vital decision?

Picking an appropriate course and college is a vital decision for a Class 12 student because the choice made will have a direct bearing on the future career.  If a wrong option is chosen, it will mean that the student will spend precious time studying subjects or a domain that doesn’t interest them and most likely to end up in a frustrating job, not serving their aspirations. Generally, the choice of course made after Class 12 will be the one that impacts the most for the rest of life. There is limited scope for changing careers after joining a graduation course. And even if it’s done, you will still end up wasting a part of the most productive and crucial time of your life.

Along with being a very critical decision, it is also a tough one to make, especially in today’s context of Globalized markets, which offers substantial career alternatives. Today, students are faced with varied options of courses and careers, all of which look almost equally lucrative and interesting. This wide range of courses available has further complicated the decision-making process for the students. Those days are gone when a career as an Engineer, Doctor, Chartered Accountant or a Lawyer and in other such core domains were the only excellent career opportunities. Today the world offers a plethora of options and opportunities to the younger generation. And they are far more open in experimenting with new fields and career options. They are building careers as Pet groomers, Graphic designers, Social entrepreneurs, Event managers, Digital marketers, Ethical hackers, and Cybersecurity experts, and in many other such fields that were not there in the job market a few years back.

How to choose the right Course to reach your North Pole (Career Destination)?

To decide on the most appropriate course for graduation seems quite a challenge. To initiate your first step towards making a choice, you need to aware of all possible options available. Then you need to select one that is best suited for your interests and career aspirations.

Since I have already discussed self-awareness in the previous chapter, here, I would like to consider the other important aspects that students should factor in when making a choice.

  1. Passion/ Area of interest

The primary consideration while deciding a graduation course is your inclination, interest, and commitment to it. Being clear about your aspirations will go a long way in helping you choose the most appropriate graduation course. At this stage in a student’s life, interest shall take precedence over other factors. The choice of your course and subject combination should be such that it must ensure that it takes you towards your career destination and not otherwise.

  •  Understand the course

While deciding on the course to pursue, it is crucial to understand what it entails, along with its scope? But remember, the course will give you the desired scope only if you work hard on it. That means you must accurately and comprehensively understand what lies ahead once you choose the course. It means understanding what subjects you will be learning, and what kind of pedagogy is followed to teach the subjects.

There are multiple ways to know crucial information about the course you are considering to pursue. The most apparent and appropriate approach would be to talk to your teachers, seniors who have completed the course or subject matter experts. Professionals working in a domain that is identical to your interest can share their insights and guide you the best. Alternatively, you can also find useful information on the internet or consult a career counselor.

  • Check Career prospects, scope, and possibilities of a stream.

Analyze each stream and check out career prospects associated with it. Now, some streams give access to diverse job opportunities. The key is to find out what would the future beholds in that field. Pursuing a course matching your interests is great, but you should also be mindful of the prospects that it offers. One of the major concerns that you should try and find an answer is, ‘What are the career opportunities available after the course is completed?’ Also, look for what options are available for further studies in the same field.

Science stream with PCM

  1. University-affiliated under-graduate courses
CourseDuration
B.Sc (General)3 years
BS (Pure Science)4 years
M.Sc (Integrated)5 years
BE / B.Tech4 years
BCA3 years
B. Arch5 years
B.Pharma4 years
B. Fashion Technology4 years
  1. Career-oriented options
    1. NDA for defense force career.
    2. Air Force & Navy Wing – Physics & Maths at 10+2 is mandatory.
  • Army Wing – Any stream 10+2 will do.
  1. Commercial Pilot Course
  2. 1-year duration
  3. Physics & Maths at 10+2 is mandatory
  1. Merchant Navy
  2. 4-year duration
  3. Physics, Chemistry & Maths at 10+2 is mandatory

Science stream with PCB

  1. University-affiliated under-graduate courses
CourseDuration
B.Sc (General)3 years
BS (Pure Science)4 years
M.Sc (Integrated)5 years
B.Pharma4 years
B.Sc (Agriculture)4 years
B.Sc Sericulture4 years
B.Sc Horticulture3 years
B.Sc Forestry4 years
B.H.Sc Home Science3 years
B.Sc Fisheries4 years
  • Medical Courses
CourseDuration
MBBS5 & 1/2 years (including 1-year internship)
BDS5 & 1/2 years (including 1-year internship)
BAMS5 & 1/2 years (including 1-year internship)
BHMS5 & 1/2 years (including 1-year internship)
BUMS5 & 1/2 years (including 1-year internship)
BNYS5 & 1/2 years (including 1-year internship)
BDS5 years (including 1-year internship)
B.V.Sc & AH5 years
  • Para-medical Courses
CourseDuration
BPT (Physiotherapy)4 years (including 6 months internship)
B.Sc Nursing4 years
B. Optometry4 years
B.Sc Cardiac Technology3 years
B.Sc Physician Assistant3 years
B.Sc Cardiovascular Technology3 years
B.Sc Nuclear Medicine Technology3 years
B.Sc Neurophysiology Technology3 years
B.Para Medical Technology (BPMT)3 years
B. Occupational Therapy (BOT)4 & ½ years
B.Sc Medical Lab Technology3 years

Commerce Stream

  1. University-affiliated under-graduate courses
CourseDuration
B. Com- General or with specialization3 years
BBA- General or Industry-specific3 years
B. Com/BBA-LLB (integrated)5 years
BCA (IT) with Maths at +2 level3 years
M.Com (integrated)5 years
MBA (integrated)5 years
  • Career-oriented professional courses
  • CA- Foundation, leading to Chartered Accountancy career
  • CS- Foundation, leading to Company Secretary career
  • CMA- Foundation, leading to Cost & Management Accountancy career

Arts/ Humanities Stream

CourseDuration
BA Literature3 years
BA General3 years
BA (Hons)3 years
MA (integrated)3 years
BA-LLB (integrated)3 years

Apart from the above stream specific courses, there are some undergraduate courses of 3 or 4 years duration, which can be pursued by any student after completing the 12th standard irrespective of the subjects studied earlier. Some of those Bachelors Courses are available in

  • Design
  • Journalism & Mass Communication
  • Hotel & Tourism Management
  • Hospitality & travel
  • Animation
  • Fine Arts
  • Foreign Languages

Now let us consider some of the 3-year Polytechnic Diploma courses which can be pursued after completing 12th Standard.

Some benefits of studying Polytechnic Course

1. It offers an enhanced exposure of a specific industry and the option of either pursuing higher education further or take up a job in the core domain.
2. Lateral Entry to BE/ B.Tech courses, by gaining direct admission into the second year, after completing the Diploma course
3. Polytechnic courses will have more practical learning and are application-oriented, thus equipping the students with relevant knowledge and skills.
4. The familiarity of subjects will help them in doing well in their higher education if pursued.
5. The right diploma course of a student’s choice can help in landing directly into his dream job without the long years of graduation.

Short-term Diploma courses

If a student isn’t interested in pursuing any of the options mentioned above, then he can explore some of the short-term diploma courses ranging from 3 months to 1 year.

Let’s consider some of the advantages of these courses.

  1. Students are exposed to practical training in applied fields catering to a specific industry requirement.
  2. They will be taught theoretical concepts along with training on the practical application of concepts.
  3.  It equips students to take up a particular job due to industry-relevant skill training.
  4. Students can check for their cup of Tea by gaining invaluable experience, thus helping them to decide with conviction in which discipline they would like to do a bachelor’s degree.

Now let us consider some of the areas in which students can pursue these courses.

  • Multimedia
  • Digital Marketing
  • Nutrition & Diet
  • Web designing
  • 3D Animation
  • Advertisement & Marketing Communication
  • Retail Management
  • Logistics Management
  • Interior Design
  • Culinary Arts
  • Photography
  • Event management

If a student makes the right choice and is happy with it, then he can kickstart his career early on and leverage this advantage and progress well in his career. If for whatever reason, the student loses interest in the course, then he can step back and still consider an alternative course for pursuing, as these are short term courses and will get over pretty quickly, unlike a regular university program.  

The list of choices discussed here is not a comprehensive one, and there are many more options available in terms of career-oriented courses. Due to the limitation of space and time, all options are not discussed here. I recommend you to take the help of a professional career counselor or look for online resources to make the right choice aligning with your larger career goals.

★ Latest UGC Announcement

Till now an UG student could legally pursue only one approved course from a UGC recognized university. In a move to improve the career prospects of student community, UGC has recently approved a proposal to allow students to pursue two-degree programmes at the same time. One of the degree program has to be in regular mode and the other can be from Online, Open or Distance Learning mode. So, students choose wisely, plan appropriately, work harder and prosper in your career.

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