How do people decide what they want to study at university?

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SerLorasTyrell
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I'm interested in how people decide what field they might end up in for the rest of their life, when in most cases they have no experience of it. How did you come to your decision? What factors influenced you?
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Changing Skies
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Honestly, I just went for what I really enjoy.

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cdude
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Just do what you enjoy, if you love English and spend a lot of time reading then continue with that.

It's not clever to pick a degree based on the earning potential or what others may think of you.

Find out which subject you look forward to the most and research careers from this.
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username1221160
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I spent 4 years out of work and was getting rejected without interview for every grotty job I applied for. I decided sod it, I'll become a molecular biologist. So far it is proving far easier than getting a job in McDonalds.
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dranaaex
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I think I was in year 9 when I knew I wanted to have a career based on biology and I think it was partly due to loving nature documentaries and having a really passionate science teacher who just so happened to be a biologist. My family has a scientific background so I think it was quite natural for me follow in the same footsteps... the humanities/languages were always ruled out as I could never clearly express ideas on paper so yeah I think that just about explains my degree choice (biological sciences btw) :awesome:
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chickenonsteroids
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(Original post by cdude)
Just do what you enjoy, if you love English and spend a lot of time reading then continue with that.

It's not clever to pick a degree based on the earning potential or what others may think of you.

Find out which subject you look forward to the most and research careers from this.
Why is it not clever to pick a degree based on earning potential? If your degree cost £27000 a year, would you still think it's wrong to pick a degree based on what you could earn afterwards?
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teapotjuggler
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First and foremost it should be doing something that you enjoy. However, you should question if the field you enjoy is best studied at university at all. For example, if you enjoy drama then maybe it's best to study it at a specialised college rather than as a degree at university, depending on what you think you'd do with it.
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Liv1204
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For my undergraduate degree I started off just with reading through the prospectus for the courses that looked interesting. I couldn't decide for a long time between Psychology (with the initial aim of hopefully becoming a Clinical Psychologist) or Mental Health Nursing, and eventually I went for Psychology with Clinical Psychology because it was wider and more theoretical, and I thought I'd have more options afterwards.

For my MSc I actually ended up applying for two completely different courses! One was Forensic Psychology at the uni where I did my undergrad, which I'd always thought I'd go for because I've always loved the police so much, I loved the module at undergrad, and it's a brilliant uni for it. The other was Sport & Exercise Psychology at a different. I was very unsure about choosing it because it's not got the reputation my undergrad uni does (although it's a very very good uni for sports courses and research in the area I'm interested in), and I was worried about Sport & Exercise Psych being seeing as not academic enough. But I decided to choose it because a) sport was my way of coping and the thing that made me happiest at the worst time of my life, and I want to study a subject that I genuinely love; b) I am really interested in the research and the theory, the positive benefits of exercise, the psychological benefits and the links with physical/mental health, c) the university is absolutely perfect for me, much smaller than my undergrad uni, much smaller course, great lecturers and much more 'personal', and d) I thought it would help me more for the PhD ideas I have. And I have no regrets whatsoever.
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cdude
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(Original post by chickenonsteroids)
Why is it not clever to pick a degree based on earning potential? If your degree cost £27000 a year, would you still think it's wrong to pick a degree based on what you could earn afterwards?

Doing a job you hate over a one you love just to earn an extra few thousand is ludicrous
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czechmishaout
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I bounced around a lot in the past few years. My dad is a computer scientist and a professor, so I was convinced I'll become one too. I grew out of that, thankfully.
I love traveling, foreign languages, debating, and watching news. Then I heard there was something like International Relations and boom, I found my life passion. It ties it all together. :ahee:

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JasmineLDN
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I changed my degree choice 4 times, however each of them were intended to take me down the same career path. In the end I chose the one that would provide me with the most valuable skills, teach me something new, and that was something that would also be useful if I ever changed my mind.
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ChaoticButterfly
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(Original post by dranaaex)
I think I was in year 9 when I knew I wanted to have a career based on biology and I think it was partly due to loving nature documentaries and having a really passionate science teacher who just so happened to be a biologist. My family has a scientific background so I think it was quite natural for me follow in the same footsteps... the humanities/languages were always ruled out as I could never clearly express ideas on paper so yeah I think that just about explains my degree choice (biological sciences btw) :awesome:
This was the same for me except replace biology with physics.
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chickenonsteroids
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(Original post by cdude)
Doing a job you hate over a one you love just to earn an extra few thousand is ludicrous
How do you know it'll just be a few extra thousand? What happens when you don't get enough money from your job meaning you can't even do what you love?
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cuckoo99
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Depends as the reasons for specialist degrees and pure degree's will be different. I applied for Chemistry because its my favorite subject and i want to learn more i guess.
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Add!ction
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When I was in Year 9 I began to realise that I would get top marks in my subject without putting in very much effort at all. Everything made sense and seemed to compliment my interests generally.
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Smack
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(Original post by SerLorasTyrell)
I'm interested in how people decide what field they might end up in for the rest of their life, when in most cases they have no experience of it. How did you come to your decision? What factors influenced you?
Personally, I had a good idea about what I intended to do career wise and knew what the appropriate option was. Lots of people, though, choose something that they're interested in. And in many cases your undergrad degree doesn't define which field you go into for the rest of your life.
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Origami Bullets
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First off, most people won't stay in that same field for the rest of their lives! Once I've graduated, I'll (hopefully) be working in a completely different sector, but maintaining a well informed layman's interest in my subject.

However, when choosing a degree subject, people tend to consider
- if there's a particular career they want, and if so whether a specific degree is required
- what they enjoy at school, either whole subjects or parts of subjects (e.g. biology vs cell biology)
- if they have any other outside interests that have a relevant degree
- what subjects they can actually do with the A Levels they've chosen (if they're already in the sixth form)
- how employable a degree in that subject will make them

Ultimately though, do something you're interested in.
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Serentonin
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a) I was good at it
b) I liked it
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jelly1000
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I've always taken an interested in Politics and I'd increasingly taken an interest in the outside influences on the UK such as the EU and the European Court of Human Rights. Then my Mum left a printout about International Relations on my desk one day and bam I knew that was what I wanted to do as it matched my interests perfectly.
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BlueSam3
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I like maths. I'm reasonably good at maths. So I'll do maths. That was about as far as it went.
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