Getting started on making post-secondary, career choices

As the end of the school year approaches, some students may find themselves asking "what's next" as they face a crossroads in their education and career pathways.

What should students consider as they make their post-secondary education and career choices?

1 KNOW YOUR OPTIONS

There are multiple education and career pathways available for post-secondary students, and it is important for them to know the differences in the various options so that they can make informed decisions.

Most students are aware of the different teaching styles and subjects which the various higher education institutions offer, but they might be unsure of the pathway that best aligns with their interests and learning styles.

Thus, it is ideal that students start exploring their options even before they take the national examinations.

2 START EARLY

If possible, students should start mulling over their education and career options as early as lower secondary level so that they have sufficient time to explore their aspirations and areas of interest, and reach a decision by the time they leave secondary school.

However, there may be students who do not have very clear career aspirations at that age, which is perfectly fine.

They can discover their learning styles, strengths and areas of interest through their schools' various initiatives, such as co-curricular activities and Applied Learning Programmes.

3 TALK TO OTHERS

Feedback from parents, teachers, peers, and even education and career guidance counsellors can help students understand their strengths and discover their passions.

From there, students will be in a better position to choose the most suitable pathway for themselves.

Conversations with working adults can also provide insight into the industry or line of work which students are interested in.

Students can then reflect on whether it is a viable career option for them.

• The writer is an education and career guidance counsellor.

• This article first appeared in Schoolbag.sg, the Ministry of Education's online publication.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2017, with the headline 'Getting started on making post-secondary, career choices'. Print Edition | Subscribe