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How to Choose a Degree: 5 Tips for Finding the Perfect Course for You

10th March 2023

If you’re focused on advancing your existing career with specialist knowledge, choosing courses at university can help to achieve your potential and shape the career path you’ve always dreamed of.

However, if you’re torn between a shortlist of favourites, or wondering which degree you will enjoy the most, some research can help you a long way towards deciding which path to take.

You might be juggling an array of very different subjects at a selection of universities, have the perfect university in mind, but are unsure of the course, or have absolutely no idea which direction to head in.

Be reassured that all  of these scenarios are completely normal for many prospective students, but keeping yourself knowledgeable and up to date about your options will allow you to make an informed decision that will benefit your development and your future.

Whichever career you currently work in, or are aspiring towards, it’s important to keep in mind that the choices you make now can be changed later, and many courses will teach you important higher level and transferable skills that you can use across other industries, so if you fancy changing jobs later, you can still use the knowledge gained from your distance learning course to your advantage.

We’ve compiled a list of things to consider if you need help choosing a degree, and how to navigate the ups and downs of the selection process.

What Are Your Current Passions and Interests?

Studying a subject you enjoy that aligns with your interests is a great way to make sure that you can remain engaged and focused throughout your degree, particularly if, like many distance learners, you’re balancing study with  full-time or part-time work.

If you have a particular interest that you want to pursue in your studies, you can research which specific subjects will open doors to any future careers in that area with tools like the National Careers Service website. 

This service uses real data to glean information about different types of careers, how much they pay, contracted hours and which qualifications or university degree you might need to be eligible for the role. 

For some specialist roles, you may need an accredited degree that has been approved by a professional body. This is common for degrees in some science industries, psychology, and engineering to name a few. Although this isn’t essential for jobs in every industry, it can be helpful for gaining an advantage over other candidates.

In the future, you may also find yourself at an advantage over other candidates 

 if you expand your work experience in the field. This may be useful if you’re looking to change careers to a more specialist role.

In this case, taking on some voluntary or entry-level work might perfectly complement your academic qualifications.

Are You Comfortable Learning From Home?

Everyone learns differently, so choosing a degree that will allow you to learn in your own way that plays to your strengths and will help you to succeed the most effectively.

One benefit of studying a distance learning degree is the ability to learn from home. If you struggle in new environments, or find that you can focus more intensely when studying in a quiet environment, then distance learning may be the best choice for you, as you can study anywhere in the world, at any time. 

You may also choose to study a distance learning degree if you are already invested in your current career path, but need to gain additional knowledge or qualifications in order to progress further. 

If you are already working on your career, you may also want to consider whether you would like to study full-time or part-time. Although studying a degree part-time will naturally take longer, it will free up some more time for you to juggle other commitments like parenting, working, or caring for a relative without holding you back from achieving your aspirations.

If You're Staying Local, Try Distance Learning

With a university in almost every city in the UK, you would be hard pressed to be unable to find one close to where you live.

However, one notable advantage of choosing a distance learning course is that you can study your preferred course from anywhere. 

This can help you to save money on commuting costs instead of opting for a local university, and will give you a higher level of flexibility for managing your day without the rigidity of conforming to a university generated timetable. 

Additionally, the rising cost of living has led many to cut back on their disposable spending, and look for more intuitive ways to save money, so enrolling in your choice of distance learning degree could enable you to learn brand new skills for a prospective role as a learning experience that is easier on your back pocket. 

Are You New to Academic Studying?

Another factor to consider when choosing a degree is the future of the industry you want to work in. 

If you have a career in mind that involves industries like Data Science or Medical and Healthcare Education, these areas are permanently evolving and changing as more research is undertaken. Other subjects like Sustainability are constantly growing as more understanding of the subject is gained.

What Developments Are Happening in Your Industry of Choice?

If you’re studying an industry that is changing, you may have an opportunity to become part of the research in the future, and you might need to be conscious of future developments to keep your knowledge up to date.

You might also want to consider whether you will be engaged in your industry of choice for a lifetime, or whether you might want to change careers later on. In this case, think about which transferable skills you might gain that can be carried through to another opportunity.

Discover the Levels of Education Offered by ARU

Whether you’re just starting out with an undergraduate degree, building up your skills with a top-up degree, or mastering your skills with a postgraduate degree, ARU offers a wealth of experience from these flexible options, designed to fit around every life circumstance. 

Whether you’re educated to A Levels or equivalent and looking to make the next step later on in life, looking for a lifestyle change, or furthering your career by learning new skills, it’s often a huge choice to pick the next adventure in your academic and professional life. 

However, the journey that awaits you will enrich you with skills that will make you more resilient, knowledgeable, and give you the boost you need to smash your personal aspirations. 

Take a look at our extensive list of degree courses to choose your next adventure, and open up the opportunity to discover brand new skills at degree level. Once you’ve decided on your dream course, apply now to start your journey with ARU.