What to Do When You Can't Decide

By University of Waterloo Modified on December 21, 2021
Tags : High School

So you don't know what to do after high school. The good news is you're not alone.

What to Do When You Can't Decide

If you know that you want to go to university, but you don't know what program to apply to, don't worry! We have some tips to help you consider what your next steps could be.

1. Think about your favourite subjects

Think about the courses you've taken in high school. What do you love learning about? Would you be happy to learn more about that subject in university? Would you be happiest learning about that subject, more than any other one?

2. Identify your strengths

Knowing what you excel at is a great first step to knowing what opportunities are even available to you. If you're not able to pinpoint them, here are some things you can try.

Ask others. Think of a few trusted people who will be honest with you. Ask them what they think your strengths are. On the flip side: ask them what they think you struggle with. Chatting with a guidance counsellor and doing career quizzes can also help!

Look at your grades. Dig out your old report cards. What classes did you do well in? Do these match with what you love? You want to enjoy what you'll be studying for four to five years.

Try something new. This could be a hobby, club, volunteering, or a part-time job. You may surprise yourself and find that something you've never tried before comes easy to you!

3. Research university programs

The subject you study is important! But you may want to consider these factors beyond academics.

Co-op and internships. Do the programs you're looking into offer internships or co-op? You can explore potential careers and build your network by including work experience as part of your degree. Read university brochures and talk to students at an open house or a campus tour.

Earning potential. A university degree will set you up for your future career. While it's important that you enjoy what you're doing, it can be good to have an idea of the salary you'll earn.

University experience. There are many other aspects to consider when choosing a university. Do you want to study in a big city or a small town? How far away from home do you want to be? Do you want to play sports?

4. Go general!

If you're still unsure, there are programs with a general first year that provide a lot of flexibility as you figure out what you want to study. For example, if you know that you want to study math, but you don't know what kind of math you want to study, Waterloo has general first-year math program – Honours Mathematics. After trying different courses in your first year, your academic advisors can then help you choose your major.

You can also use first year to explore. Talk to your professors and peers. Look at what courses upper-year students are taking.

Try taking electives in other subjects you enjoy. You might find that you'd be happier studying something else. If this happens, you can usually change your program. An academic advisor would be happy to help you figure out what's best for you.

5. Change your mind!

You want to choose the university and program that is right for you. But you might realize that you want to do something different! And that's okay! Lots of people change their majors or even switch schools during their degree.

Be sure to check out our ultimate guide to choosing a university for even more tips!

Check out the ultimate guide to choosing a university

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