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How to choose your study…

Date:25 March 2020
Author:Sinead Walsh

Trying to figure out what you are going to study can be a daunting task, to say the least. You’re being bombarded by questions from your parents and relatives about “what you’re going to do next” and you haven’t got a clue. Well, that’s where I come in! I’m not going to be able to make this decision for you, because unfortunately, only you can answer that one, but I am going to give you some helpful tips as to what you should think about when deciding on your study and your future. 

What don’t I like?

This might seem like a strange place to start but it can actually help a lot. When I was first trying to figure out what to study this was the easiest place to start because you may not know exactly what you want to do but you probably have an idea of what your nightmare study would be. If math or economics isn’t your thing, then rule those out first and start from there. By ruling out the things you definitely don’t want to do you can start figuring out what you might actually want to do. 

What questions should I ask?

It is very important that when attending university recruitment activities that you ask a lot of questions. This will help to give you a good overview of what the university is like and what the program is about. One of my favourite questions to ask is; “why should I choose you over other universities?”. Aside from questions like this, I would also recommend asking the university about options to visit. Many universities have options for you to come for an individual visit if you cannot make it to an open day. At Campus Fryslân we have a webclass and webinar for you to check out if you are interested in the Global Responsibility & Leadership programme. This webclass will start on Monday 13th April and will continue until Sunday 10th May. Additionally, you can sign up for the online Student for a Day which takes place on the 24th April 2020. 

How much will it cost me?

This may not be a big factor for everyone but those of us not lucky enough to be supported by our parents through university, the price is very important. In the Netherlands, the price of a bachelors program is approximately €2000, which, in terms of higher education is relatively cheap. Especially considering the extremely high quality of the educational institutions here with many of them placing in the Top 100 universities in the world, including the University of Groningen. The University College Fryslan programme is approximately €4000, this is more expensive than the “regular” tuition fees but is this way because of the extra support and teaching that you receive throughout your degree. 

What do I like?

This one is obvious, everyone wants to end up doing something they love because “if you work in a profession you like, you’ll never work a day in your life”, or so the saying goes. When trying to figure out what you like, it can be surprisingly necessary to do a little soul searching along the way. Try to think about what your skills and strengths are within your friend group or even within your current job or family life. Are you the one that always takes the best pictures of the group? Are you the one that enjoys organising trips away for you all? Whatever it is, find what you’re good at, find what you enjoy and run with it. 

Where do I want to live?

Location may not be on the top of everyone’s list but it can be an important factor for many people. Different things attract you to different countries, whether this is for the food or the people or the landscape, whatever your reason, it’s always valid. I moved to the Netherlands not exactly for the great weather or food but for the very high-quality education. The standard here is unlike anywhere else in the world. Overall, in my opinion, it’s the people that make the place. 

Decide on Studielink

If you have found that one programme and applied for it, congrats! Now you can complete your application on Studielink. Did you sign up for several programmes? Then you might want to take a look at this blog again to help you make your final decision…

I know that making supposedly life-altering decisions can seem a bit crazy when you’re only 18 or 19 years old but just go with your gut and do what you love. Try not to worry about the employment market or “what job you’ll get out of that”, this is easier said than done, I know! However, making decisions like this can be very daunting but you should also realise that it is not the end of the world if you enter into a study that may not be right for you, you can always switch. There is life after high school, there is life after university, you will get there.

About the author

Sinead Walsh
Hey there! My name is Sinead Walsh. I grew up in Ireland and I'm in the process of figuring out life as an international student in the Netherlands. Aside from an interest in politics and the environment, I am currently studying an MSc in Sustainable Entrepreneurship at Campus Fryslân. You'll see me around the campus almost daily so don't be afraid to come up for a chat any time!