Don't Know What to Study? Avoid These 4 Common Mistakes

By Western University Modified on February 03, 2020

From thinking too narrowly to ignoring requirements, don't do these four things!

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A student finds their home at Western University, having made their own choices, visited campus, explored program choices, and researching admission requirements. No mistakes!

Mistake #1: Letting someone else choose for you.

It's important to discuss your university options with family, friends, significant others, and guidance counsellors. They will likely have great advice! But it's also important to make sure their opinions don't outweigh yours.

This might be the first big life decision you get to make for yourself. It can be both exciting and intimidating. You're going to spend the next four years at university. This is the start of your career, and your time at university helps shape who you will become. Make sure you prioritize your wants and needs above the opinions of others.

Mistake #2: Not visiting campus.

Would you test drive a car before buying it? Would you hold a phone in your hand, see how it fits in your pocket or purse, and snap a photo before buying it? Would you try on a pair of jeans before buying it?

Most people like to try before they buy. The same goes for university. Trying it out helps you feel more confident in your decision.

Walking around a university campus, sitting in lecture halls, even trying the food in the dining halls — visiting can help you decide whether a campus feels like the right fit. Most campuses offer tours and open houses. But if you can't be there in person, try the equivalent of online shopping and try a virtual tour.

Mistake #3: Only exploring some program options.

Let's say you like your biology courses in high school, and you do well in them. That's great! But it doesn't mean you're destined to study biology at university and become a biologist. Biology is a component in many other programs, such as Medical Science, Health Science, Kinesiology, Nursing, Foods and Nutrition, and Psychology.

Don't limit yourself by thinking too narrowly about your options. One of the most exciting things about university is all the variety in programs and courses. You'll get to discover topics you couldn't explore in depth in high school.

If you're lucky, the university you choose will offer you a common first year. This means you can explore options before you choose your major.

Mistake #4: Ignoring the admission requirements

It's important to be realistic. If you hate math, and you did terrible in calculus, a math-based program such as Economics might not be the best fit. And that's okay! There are lots of other interesting topics to dive into.

Usually, the reason some programs require certain grades or courses is to ensure you'll be set up for success. Paying attention to the requirements is for your own good.

If you found university-level courses difficult in high school, and your average is well-below the requirements, consider pathways to university. This may include going to college first. Many college students go on to complete a university degree to give them a competitive edge in their careers. And many university students complete a college certificate/diploma to gain more skilled hands-on training.


Remember, the choice is all yours. If you're finding it difficult to decide, and you need more information about a university, don't hesitate to reach out. You can ask the university's Undergraduate Recruitment office questions.

Good luck on your journey to university!



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