Are you an explorer, high-flyer, struggler or striver?
Are you an explorer, high-flyer, struggler or striver? This could be a question one could expect in a job interview but this identity, which considers your financial and academic profile, could determine the priorities when choosing an undergraduate degree. World Education Services released a report in 2015 on the factors determining the priorities when choosing a US university for a degree. According to the report, almost half of prospective Chinese students reputation of a university or college is the most important factor in their decision, compared with less than a quarter of prospective Indian applicants. To an Indian student, placement statistics with mean and median salaries of employed current students and the quality of industry interaction offered by the institution mattered. Chinese students are mostly explorers (44%), owing to their high financial resources but low academic preparedness, or high-flyers (29 per cent) owing to high financial resources and high academic preparedness. Prospective students in India are predominantly either strivers, with low financial resources but high academic preparedness (42 per cent), or strugglers, with both low financial resources and academic preparedness (25 per cent). Perhaps it is for this reason that Indian students expect a good return on investment on their US education. It would benefit greatly if students have the same perspective while choosing an undergraduate degree as well, since it lays the foundation to their future.
Choosing an undergraduate course can be challenging with the numerous options provided. But identifying the profession you want to see yourself in and the skills that are required to reach a good position in the chosen field could make the decision-making process simpler. Bachelor’s degree if often seen as an ideal carefree life that provides the luxury of relaxing for 3 to 4 years before taking the ultimate career decision. Given the state of higher education and job market today, students cannot afford to attend graduation to figure out things or just for the love of learning and hope for fate to favour. Wrong decisions taken at the bachelor’s level is one of the major reasons why we land up in mediocre jobs and struggle through out to survive in a profession instead of exceling.
A pragmatic approach in choosing the right course is the first step towards the right career path. It is an important period in life for learning, practicing and achieving. It is also an ideal stage to rehearse for a professional performance. Choosing the right course and institution will make all the difference. Looking at the huge challenge ahead, choosing an institution that offers much more than the customary classroom teaching and evaluation will help in moulding the student as a promising youngster. As we are looking at bachelor’s degree as a foundation towards the intended professional path, considering internship and other industry interventions offered by the institution is of prime importance. The learning experience acquired in college must translate into marketable skills, particularly when competition is fierce.
Higher education today should transcend more than book knowledge and travel towards practical experience that can equip every graduate to be employable. Gone are the days when marks alone can fetch you the plum job. The scenario has changed, and years spent at college are crucial to develop professional skills. Choosing a course and institution that provides equal opportunities to academics and professional training is important. Apart from the afore said credentials the best institutions must also be committed to nurture ethical values to create socially responsible citizens. People with social consciousness are a country’s tangible capital.
Dr. Rajashree Pandiyan
Head, Department of Languages