Choosing a stream in high school can seem like a daunting task. It is the first juncture in one’s academic life that one has to decide on a course. Choosing your subjects doesn’t have to be as scary as it’s made out to be. Here are a few things to keep in mind while choosing a stream in class XI.
1. Explore your Interests
The first and foremost thing to keep in mind while choosing your subjects is your interest – what subjects do you enjoy the most, what topics interest you. It is a proven fact that people learn better when they have an interest in the subject material. When you have an interest in something, it becomes easy and enjoyable to learn about that topic. Remember, there are no boring subjects, only disinterested minds.
2. Take an Aptitude Test
The next thing is aptitude. Other than interest, it’s also crucial to have an aptitude, or suitability to perform in the subjects you choose. If you’re facing a dilemma with regard to what subjects you should pursue, you could take the help of a professional counsellor who could administer an aptitude test. Aptitude tests help you understand what type of career will be best suited for you according to your potential.
3. Map out your Long- Term Plans
You should also keep in mind your long-term plans. Are you open to experimenting or do you have fixed long-term goals? It would be useful to assess your career objectives and plan a route to success. Understand what you would like to achieve and take into consideration both your personal and professional aspirations.
4. Subjects Requirement for your Prospective Career
Do you want to be a pilot? Do you want to be a Chartered Accountant or a Financial Analyst? Different subject combinations suit different careers and if you are clear about your ideal career, you should choose subjects that will facilitate your course in the field.
5. Explore your Hobbies
If you’re passionate about photography or have a hobby you would like to pursue professionally, you could look at professional skill-based or vocational courses in your area of interest like photography, journalism, animation, graphic designing and more. Work that is congruent with your skills and interests is more likely to result in higher career satisfaction. It also boosts your confidence in your work abilities, developing a more positive attitude towards your career.
6. Check the College Admission Requisites
It is not advisable to blindly choose your subject combination without taking into account the admission requirements of your ideal colleges. If you have a dream college in mind, you should look at the admission requirements – what grades do they require, what subjects do they need for admission to a particular course, etc.
7. Network with Industry Experts
It is always a good idea to talk to people already working in the field that you want to pursue. For instance, if you want to pursue a career in organisational psychology, it would be great to talk to an organisational psychologist to gain first-hand knowledge of what a job in the field entails. This will help you find out if it is a good fit for you. Usually, individuals tend to rely on their friends and family but professional career experts can offer unbiased opinions and complete guidance with regard to various career paths. The role of a counsellor ranges from acting as a guide to leading the entire course of action.
8. Consider your Personal Attributes
Your character traits, like whether you have an introverted or extroverted personality, creative streak, and outgoing nature should also be taken into consideration. For example, even if you’re passionate about fashion, the outgoing customer-focused role of a stylist could get draining if you’re naturally shy or reserved. Ultimately, research shows that what will keep you drawn to your job isn’t the perks, the benefits or the work, but the job satisfaction that you derive from it; and job satisfaction is contingent upon how well your chosen career aligns with your personality. The better your character traits mesh with your career – the more productive your job performance will be.
Students at this stage struggle a lot and often make subject choices under duress based on other people’s opinions. In such a situation, the best possible way to make the correct choice, to overcome these hurdles and realise one’s full potential is to take aid from professional career counselling services.
Ultimately, remember that there is no right or wrong choice, you can always switch paths. To a large extent, you can manoeuvre the way as you choose to. Your subject choices do not dictate your professional future.
In a nutshell, the ideal subject choice for you should consist of subjects you enjoy studying and that interest you.
The subjects you choose do play a role in your career but it isn’t a make it or break it thing. Remember that high school is only the first stepping stone and is mostly about experimenting. Never judge opportunities and do internships in various fields to figure out your area of interest.
Written by: Arushi Sharma