• College On Tap

Why is it so hard to choose a college program?

What do you want to be? After our junior year, we are always bombarded with that one question. We can identify that question right away, but we refuse to answer it. The thoughts and emotions we experience from that particular statement is just too complex for us, because we often don’t even know how to identify our passions and interests for the future.

Even though the world forces us to choose a career, the college application process plays a huge role in influencing our perception about education. We start to judge our skills based on our marks, and sometimes, feel conflicted between the choice of wealth or passion. There are so many factors that come into play when choosing our majors, such as our parents, student loans, interests, and academic performance. However, the courses we enjoy in high school usually ends up being different than what we learn in college. Studies show that approximately 33% of students switch their majors within the first three years. But why is that?

Let’s examine why programs are difficult to choose:

1.Poor curriculum structure

Many classes in high school do not cover university level material, and in fact, do not even seemingly prepare you to succeed in higher education courses. Let’s take our geography or history class as an example. In high school, history class usually consists of brainstorming, writing countless assignments and essays, and preparing for open-ended examination questions. However, in university, history class becomes a whole different ball game. There aren’t many assignments at all – in fact, perhaps one essay and two exams at most, along with participation marks. The workload between high school and university is different, and the competition also leads to a different outcome as well. Therefore, some courses may not be what we expect them to be. And as a result, we become discontent with our education.

2. Lack of career resources

Despite the numerous clubs and events that exist in high school, career resources remain scarce. Even if you go to the principal’s office or ask your homeroom teacher for career infographics, chances are that they wouldn’t even provide a proper document for you. In addition, some career choices aren’t even part of the high school curriculum. For example, makeup artistry, hairstyling, and aesthetics are rarely offered as courses. Since high school confines us to an academic environment, we are blinded by other careers that exist outside of literature or sciences.

3. Lack of guidance Having guidance is very important as a teenager when going through troubled times. However, good guidance is rarely provided in high schools. Sure, there are counselors that help you select courses or talk you through your personal situations, but they aren’t there to fully educate you on career paths. This makes it hard for you to decide on which path to take, and how to go about it.

Due to the change of time and curriculum, we are more confused with our passions and interests. Grade inflation is becoming a problem among many secondary schools, resulting in false hope and burnout from students when they enter college. With the increase in pressure and competition, receiving an acceptance letter to a selective program is more challenging than before. Even then, an acceptance letter that you worked so hard for in high school might not even be worth it. In order to minimize the rate of students changing majors, secondary schools must revamp their curriculum and teach relevant material for university courses. With a change in the high school curriculum, students can be sure to answer questions about their future better.

By: Candace Zhang

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