It is most interesting that several teenagers will attempt to go above and beyond the required number of subjects in high school. It is not uncommon to find people registering 10 subjects or more at O level, or even 5 subjects at A level. When it comes to tertiary education, the norm is to pursue only those courses relevant to your degree program. It is this approach that I want to challenge a little.
When you get to university you will discover that there is so much that you learnt in A level that then begins to make practical sense. There is more detail but mainly more application. I dare say there is very little that is completely new. This means that even for those subjects that you did not pursue into A level or college, there is an approach that is taught in university that is more relevant than how it was taught in junior school. When you factor in the current trend of multi-skilling that our economy thrives on, you discover that it is at college that you truly need to keep an eye open for those extra courses that you can do. You should remain proactive about your education, not waiting for curriculums and course structures to be changed to suit what may be necessary.
I am going to suggest five courses that, regardless of what you are studying in college, you should register for and experience.
Computer knowledge is no longer optional. While the curriculum tries to ensure that every student has computer awareness, a more diligent college student should consider exploring at least one more rigorous computing course. A course that deals with databases is one that I would recommend for most fields of study. Given the proliferation of computer packages for specific fields for example in statistics or human resources management, I would recommend courses in database design and management. If your studies do not include a computer package relevant to your area of study, you should also consider studying such courses during your vacations.
Most people will discover that regardless of the relevant O level pass in English; their ability to communicate is far from commendable. A course in English for Communication is something that can be very helpful for you to study. An understanding of how to use English within different contexts is enlightening. Effective communication is a skill that you can, therefore, acquire as you study. This includes both oral and written communication. If your college offers courses that deal specifically with report writing, by all means, enrol. You cannot be over prepared with skills like these. While most college content is already structured to include oral and written presentations, sometimes these concentrate more on the particular course content than whether your language was formal enough.
- Business Administration
Outside of the entrepreneurship hype that has hit the country, business skills are some of the most relevant life skills that one can possess. Even if you have no aspirations to develop your skills into a business, skills in financial management, for example, will be useful in handling your personal finances. Students can benefit so much from courses in financial management/accounts, marketing and/or human resources. Bear in mind that I am merely suggesting that you enrol in informative courses, mainly first-year courses that give you an outline of key concepts. You can pick perhaps an introductory course in accounting, or a branding and advertising course from the marketing department for example. A taxation course from the human resources department could be relevant to everyone who may find themselves an employee. Even the most rudimentary of business courses will help you in relating to people in the field, as most industries do have an element of administration involved.
This one is a more difficult one to sell to most young adults who believe they are working hard so they can buy everything that they eat. However, agriculture is a worthwhile investment for livelihood as well as small business. Familiarising yourself with the rudimentary elements of agriculture helps you assess your level of interest in the venture, as well as gives you a more realistic outlook of what is actually possible. Small scale agriculture production is one of the fastest growing ventures in the country.
- Other Courses of interest
Usually, when it comes to choosing an area to study in university, you have to forfeit others. You may have a great interest in history, for example, but because you feel the options it offers as a career are very limited, you may opt to study something else. However, if you are able, nothing stops you from studying a few history courses anyway just because you can. At the very least it teaches you to keep sight of your passions and interests. Later in life, you may decide on a career change
These are just my own subjective recommendations. Steve Jobs once related how some of the concepts that helped him in his business ventures were concepts he learned while auditing some university courses just as he was about to drop out. The main idea is that while at university, there may be other skills that you could learn but that are unavailable within the confines of your course structure. Take initiative and seek out the things that you need, versus merely pursuing what is offered to you.