Phew, after months of studying hard for your exams, you must be happy to be done with it! But here’s where the stressful part of your life begins: deciding which tertiary education option to go for. While degrees don’t necessarily mean you will stay in a particular field forever, choosing the right one can help with a smoother career journey in the future. Here are some things you can do before deciding what you want to do moving forward.
Nobody knows you as well as yourself, but sometimes you may not be listening to your own opinions. So, set aside some time for self-reflection. Sit down with a piece of paper and a pen, and write down things you are good at and not so good at. Remove academics from the picture; instead, focus more on your own view of things that come easy to you and things that are extremely difficult or unappealing.
Based on the strengths and weaknesses you listed, look up some careers that may fit those traits on Google. You may discover careers available out there that you have never heard of before!
A supplement to self-reflection is taking career and/or personality tests you can find online. While the results of these tests tend to be more general, they can act as a spark of inspiration to help you decide which path is best for you moving forward. Here are some online tests you can explore:
Of course, take everything you read with a pinch of salt. You will still need to do some reflection after viewing the test results to try and narrow down what may be best for you.
Sometimes it can be difficult to speak to parents as they can have their own strong opinions about what you should be doing post-SPM/IGCSE. While you can definitely use their advice as a starting point, be sure to speak to younger adults like your cousins or seniors who are already in the working world to find out about career options that are currently hot in the market.
You can even ask these adults what courses may fit you based on your personality (granted, they should know you well enough). Whomever you ask, be sure you are comfortable with them enough to be honest about your thoughts. A supportive response is what you are looking for.
Another useful adult to speak to would be your school counsellor, who should be well-versed in helping you decide on a career or course. This is even more effective if the counsellor already started getting to know you from the beginning of the exam year or earlier.
Before you settle into any post-secondary choice of education, do your research on the demand, potential earnings and career progression of the courses you are considering. Speak to someone already working in the field that interests you, if possible. If you don’t have anyone to speak to, you can do your research on sites like Afterschool.my and EduAdvisor. It’s good to be prepared for what’s coming so that you don’t get caught off guard later.
While your interests and strengths are important, it’s also necessary to be realistic about what you (or your parents) can afford. If you’re planning to take on a study loan, you should also think about the potential debt you may be taking on. Not sure what your financial situation is going to be yet? Consider taking pre-U courses like A-Levels and SACEi to buy a bit of time while leaving the door open for both local and overseas opportunities.
Remember that the money doesn’t always need to come fully from your parents’ pockets or a loan. A generous amount of scholarships are available for you to apply for post-SPM/IGCSE. Some examples include:
For more options, a good scholarship resource to have bookmarked is Malaysia Scholarships.
To discover a next step that best fits you, remain open-minded about your post-secondary options. If you are not super academically inclined and cannot imagine doing a technical or science degree for 4 or 5 years, then don’t force yourself down that road. Instead, consider taking a more general degree or a vocational/skill-based course that you think you may enjoy.
One such course is the Bachelor in Entrepreneurship course at Taylor’s University, which is perfect if you think you may just want to start and manage a business that you are passionate about. Life is not just about being a doctor, engineer, or banker; there are a variety of new and old job options out there for you to potentially take on.
It’s nerve-wracking to have to decide on your future but just do what you can and trust yourself to be able to handle the future when it comes. You may not even end up sticking to one path forever (in fact, you will likely have a few different ones), so don’t stress too much about whether your current choices will make or break your life.
If you need an extra hand in helping you piece together what’s next, be sure to take advantage of a variety of post-SPM/IGCSE planning services from Taylor’s. You can attend our virtual talks and workshops, as well as talk to our counsellors for a more personalised approach. We’re here for you, so don’t feel shy to reach out!
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