Five Considerations before Career Selection
Michael Oghenenyoreme Jules
B.Sc. (Accounting Education),
M.Ed. (In. V., Mkg/Mgt Education).
Vocational Business Educator, Admissions and UTME Nigeria
Within the Nigerian educational context, tailoring curriculum and career to what is obtainable in the labour market and home environment has been an elusive idea. Despite new trends in curriculum developments, most of our curriculum contents still reflect colonial contents and structure. On the part of the students, a lack of proper career guide from the secondary schools has created a vacuum in their brain concerning what to look out for before selecting a career. Left alone, they make choices that are not at per with their capacity. Sometimes, imposition of career from parents and peer influence all contributes to what I call “career blunder” – a situation where students choose courses that they cannot offer interest-wise, financially, intellectually, amongst others. The above instance has made many students choose courses that are either irrelevant or they are unable to perform well not only in school as undergraduates but also in the labour market as employees. Hence, the author has put forward five key indicators to look out for before one selects a career.
Speaking from the University perspective, many students from time past till now have continuously chosen course of study without awareness of the job opportunities available or what type of job that such course lead to at the end of the day. Some others are not even concerned at all about the issue of interest, whether they have interest on such course of study or not. Interest as I used here supersedes likeness for a course. Likeness will only last before you enter, but once the realities of university life sets in, only interest will sustain you and keep you going. Yet, there are still those students for whom course of study are chosen by their parents. This attitude of choosing career for students/children is often caused by what Aboli (2014) aptly termed as “family norm”. Family norm refers to what the family believes in. The family hold on to these set of values because they had certain experiences in society that has shaped these values over the years.
Take for instance, a man with little children of secondary school age who went for community/town hall meeting and when he was speaking, another man who have an undergraduate son/daughter in the University studying Medicine ordered him to sit, asking him if he still have a child in the university studying Medicine. Or take as example two, your father often visits his friend and at any point, he refers to his children studying Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, Engineering, etc. If the symbolic man in our illustration is an unskilled or traditional man without education, just be sure that his children of secondary school age must study Law, Medicine, Engineering, etc, whether they like it or not.
Why is this so you may ask? The fact is that there is so much prestige attached to certain courses. Durojaiye (2000) and Okorie (2001) revealed that many students are persuaded by their parents to study medicine because of the social prestige attached to it in which product of such ill-chosen choice of career is that in Nigeria today we tend to have medical doctors who would have excelled as Journalists, Lawyers, Accountants etc. or who would have been more productive as industrial artists and traders.
Applicants may also choose a career out of fun, peer influence and imitation. For example, as a University applicant, young ones may decide to study Mass Communication or Journalism because of the way they see broadcasters in the Television looking so neat and nice. Of course, I too once have such longing for Journalism, I remembered bros Emeakpor telling me that I could make money from it if I know my way. This is an imitational career choice, not really because the interest or likeness is there first, but because of the allure of what I saw on the television.
There are several factors that can positively and negatively affect your choice of career. It is just like going to an Igbo spare parts market to buy a part of your vehicle. So many agents who do not even have a shop in the market will want to influence your decision to buy from them. But you considered that following them will increase the cost of the product as the seller may add agent fee to the original cost of the part. So also, as you are in the process of choosing, many factors will come in. how do you ensure that you do the right thing? Let us now analyze the factors that you must consider before choosing your course of study.
Factors to Consider before Choosing a Career
You must put the following factors into perspective before you jump into the university. These factors are very crucial to be considered before buying your jamb form because this is where career selection starts. The factors are as follows:
- Capacity: Capacity/capability is linked to aptitude and these two factors plays a very key role. The Cambridge Dictionary defined capacity as the ability to do a particular thing. However, Dictionary.com defined aptitude as the capability; ability; innate or acquired capacity for something; talent. The readiness or quickness in learning; intelligence. If you look intently and compare the two definitions, you will see that aptitude is more natural than capacity. While capacity can be a learned knowledge, aptitude is both learned and natural. Now, take a look at yourself, the career that you have chosen or is about to choose, do you have the aptitude or capacity for it? If not, your level of success may be somehow affected in that course of study.
At a very tender age, you see certain children that they are very gifted in what they do. Some knows how to settle quarrel among their peers (the counsellors/Lawyers). Some of them can construct children toys a lot (the engineers). There are some that can dance more than adults (future artists), sing like no other (musicians), very moral (pastors/religious). In fact, the list can just keep on going. I also remembered my mother told somebody in my presence that “I am not surprised at whom my son has become. Because when he was very young, he carried out all his activities very courteously”. So, at an older age, I was still living a life that is a mirror of what I used to be. The point here is that for you to enjoy your career, it must reflect your personality, what you have penchant for doing. What your aptitude can comprehend.
Capacity here means that it is you and you alone that should determine your course of study. This is because career imposers like parents will not consider if you are capable or not before imposing such career on you.
Now that you are planning to go to school, what can you do for the time being? I mean skill-wise? Do you know how to fix household electricity? Then go for electrical engineering. Do you have passion for dancing? Then go for theatre Arts. Are you already teaching? Then, go for educational courses. What can you do now? What I am trying to say is that to enjoy your career and stay long in it, your course of study must reflect what you do now or what you like most.
- Finance: I use finance as number two issue here because it is a major issue for students here in the university environment. Why should finance be considered before choosing a course. It is because certain courses cost more than others. For example, in the 2016/2017 academic session in the Niger Delta University, school fees for Faculties like education, Science, Arts, etc. are cheaper than courses in the Medical Sciences. Check out the table below:
|Indigene Non- Indigene
|Indigene Non- Indigene
|Indigene Non- Indigene
Year Three and Above
|9||Basic Medical Sciences|
Source: Niger Delta University Weekly Bulletin (Jan, 2017). School fees for 2016/2017 academic session
From the table above, it is clear that school fees differs from Faculty to Faculty. Although, this may not be true with Federal Universities. However, whatever the case, you must know from your sponsor whether he is capable to sponsor you in that field before you engage. I found this message very necessary due to the number of students who abort the process when they saw the school fees last year. In fact, some students’ original documents are still with me. These students left and forgot the whole process when school fees was released last year in the Niger Delta University for the 2016/2017 academic session. If they had known that school fees would hinder them, all those monies spent in writing UTME, post UTME amongst other petty expenses would have been saved till their sponsors are fully ready.
- Imposition: Imposition according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to impose means to establish or apply by authority. To force (an unwelcome decision or ruling) on someone. It can also be said to take advantage of someone by demanding their attention or commitment. In this context however, imposition refers to the attitude of parents to choose courses of career for their children when it is not their will or in their interest to study such courses. If you parent forces a course of study on you what should you do?
First of all, you should be very aware that it is your parent(s) that is/are sponsoring you. So, if the story does not favour them, you too may not find it palatable. So, check within yourself to see if there will be any possibility of managing such course that your parent(s) want you to study.
Sometimes, the course may still be what you can offer. Maybe you are going for Mechanical Engineering and you father says no, it must be electrical engineering. What is the difference there? I think they are very similar to study. In fact, I have a student client currently in year one in the Niger Delta University who wanted to study Theatre Arts but the father wanted her as his last daughter to study Medicine as most of the older siblings could not get Medicine. At the start, she did not like the idea, but seeing the way things are, to avoid argument and to please the father who will not allow the mother to give her ordinary Garri to soak so as not to kill the brain her daughter will use to study Medicine, she obliged and came to the Niger Delta University to study Medicine. Now, the girl is doing very well, I mean very well from what I can see. This shows that not all students perform poorly when courses are imposed on them. So, check properly, if your brain cannot carry it, reject it from the beginning. No need of wasting money on what you will abort later.
- Peer Influence: Peer means your friends, age mates, either in the school, in the church, on the streets, at home, online, etc. A peer is a person who is equal to another in abilities, qualifications, age, background, and social status. Your peers can be of assistance in your career selection process. However, what you must consider in accepting advice from peers is that decision given by peers are often given out from a shallow mind. This is because at this stage, these peers still have little or no experience of the world of work. They still see the world with rose-colored sunglasses. Hence, it will be dangerous to accept career advice from them because they are still largely inexperienced. Even though their assistance can be sought, it is advisable that you meet with career counsellors or experienced career experts before you choose your course of study
Relevance to the World of Work and Economy in General: Although currently, as an educationist, I preach entrepreneurship, it is advisable to check for the career/job prospects that are waiting for a graduate in such field before you choose such a career. There are certain career currently that are now being phased out in the labour market. For example, the typewriter is almost not needed anywhere again. Hence, it is inappropriate to continue to teach it in our curriculum. Teaching courses like this is like willfully stagnating the future career progress of students. The fact is that there are so many field of studies now that are somewhat irrelevant to the current economic situation and demand for more technological approach in handling daily affairs. Can you imagine that up till date, some schools still offer typewriting as a course in the University? For crying out loud, this is outdated! How many offices have you entered in 2017 and saw a typewriter? Even the local council workers that are synonymous with typewriters are now upgrading and using computers. Why then should a University curriculum offer typewriting as a course? Just imagine yourself as a graduate in typewriting (there is no typewriting graduate. It is a course added to office and information Technology. So, you can best say, OIM graduate), what will you do with typewriter knowledge now? Come and see o. in fact, each student in the Niger Delta University offering Business education, Office and Information Management option must have a typewriter. How I wish they use this same mindset to force everyone to buy a laptop, would that not be better? Typewriter ke? Please, let us move forward.
If you find yourself offering a course that have not relevance in the current economy and labour market, you have to do something about it now. some courses however, may have relevance, but their employability may be very low. Imaging you are studying Zoology, Geography and related courses, how many companies are there to employ? Aside this ill, what kind of business can you open with this knowledge and succeed? An agriculturist can easily establish a farm, a teacher can open a school, an electrical engineer can open an electrical shop, but there are certain courses that neither have employability advantage nor do they have entrepreneurship advantage.
List of Courses Offered in Nigerian University
The following list of courses offered in Nigerian Universities were retrieved from Ihenetu (2015).
Food Science and Technology
Forest Resources Management (Forestry)
Home Science, Nutrition and Dietetics
Archeology and Tourism
Arabic and Islamic Studies
Christian Religious Studies
English and Literary Studies
Fine and Applied Arts (Creative Arts)
Foreign Languages and Literature
History and International Studies
Linguistics and Nigerian Languages
Mass Communication (Communication and Language Arts)
Theatre and Film Studies
Cell Biology & Genetics
Banking and Finance
Hospitality and Tourism
Industrial Relations and Personnel Management
Child Dental Health
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Adult Education and Extra-Mural Studies
Education & Accountancy
Education & Computer Science
Education & Economics
Education & Mathematics
Education & Physics
Education & Religious Studies
Education & Social Science
Education And Biology
Education And Chemistry
Education And English Language
Education And French
Education And Geography/Physics
Education And Political Science
Educational / Psychology Guidance And Counselling
Health and Physical Education
Library and Information Science
Social Sciences Education
Vocational Teacher Education (Technical Education)
Agricultural and Bioresources Engineering
Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
Petroleum and Gas Engineering
Production and Industrial Engineering
Geoinformatics and Surveying
Urban and Regional Planning
Health Sciences & Technology
Health Administration and Management
Medical Laboratory Sciences
Medical Radiography and Radiological Sciences
Commercial and Property Law
International and Jurisprudence
Private and Public Law
Hematology and Immunology
Obstetrics and Gynecology
Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Child Dental Health
Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Management
Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Industrial Pharmacy
Pharmaceutical Technology and Industrial Pharmacy
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Physics and Astronomy
Pure and Industrial Chemistry
Public Administration and Local Government
Animal Health and Production
Veterinary Parasitology and Entomology
Veterinary Pathology and Microbiology
Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine
Veterinary Obstetrics and Reproductive Diseases
Veterinary Teaching Hospital
Believing that you understand the information above properly, I wish to make it clear to your understanding any mistake made in the career selection process will cost you time and money to amend. It may even affect you academically since switching of courses are done in between session/semesters. If your father is selecting a course for you to study, ask yourself, can I really offer the course? Can I meet up with the course demands? Do I like the course? Do I have the capacity and aptitude for the course? If your answer is yes, then, go for it, but if your answer is no, then, talk to your father if he can see reasons with you to change his mind and allow you select a course that you can offer. If not, you can also talk to his friends who are educated, not the uneducated ones who will spur him more to stick to his decision. Talk to your mum, pastor or its equivalent in your religion. Also seek the help of a career counsellor or career expert like me who can place a call to him and speak with him. Moreover, before you go to school, consider the financial implications of the course you are going for. Ask old students the school fees they paid and know from your sponsor if he/she can afford it. This is very necessary because it pains me seeing young ones forfeiting their hard-earned admission because they could not meet up with the charges involved. If you had known this earlier, it would have informed your decision from the beginning.
What if you do not have educated parents, the type who choose career for their children, who cannot guide you either in selecting a career? You can seek the assistance of your peers. Most of them already have a likeness and interest in particular field of study. For some of them, their parents have already chosen a course for them, so, information from them can help you get through your decision.
Also, check for the relevance of such course of study that you may have chosen. Of course, you know how hard things are right now. You do not need to choose a course that will make job seeking difficult for you if you are the job type. You go for a course that at the end of the tunnel, after the whole stress and the whole school saga, you should be able to get a job easily.
If you are still battling to get admission, please, visit www.admissionsandutme.com and search for our material on Easy Ways to Write Your JAMB and Post UTME and Get Admitted Once for all Time. Surely, it will help you get admission in a radical way. Surely by force.
Aboli, T. (2014). Influence of home background on career choice of secondary school students in Sagbama Local Government Area, Bayelsa State. Undergraduate Project, Niger Delta University.
Cambridge Dictionary, (online). Capacity. Retrieved December 20th, 2017 from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/capacity
Dictionary.com, (online). Aptitude. Retrieved December 20th, 2017 from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/aptitude
Durojaiye, M. O. A. (2000). Psychological guidance of the child, Ibadan: Evans Brother Ltd.
Ihenetu, D. (2017). List of courses offered in Nigerian university. https://nigerianscholars.com/list-of-all-courses-offered-by-nigerian-universities/
Merriam-Webster Dictionary, (online). Impose. Retrieved December 20th, 2017 from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impose
Niger Delta University, (2017). School fees for 2016/2017 academic session. Amassoma. Weekly Bulletin.
Okorie, S. (2001). Parental Divorce and the Well-Being of Children: A Meta Analysis. Psychological bulletin, 110, 26-46
About the Author
Born Michael Aki on 28th July 1987 to the family of Julius Ahwusi Aki of Ona Quarters in Agbarha-Otor Kingdom, Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State, he is the first Son and the eighth child of 9 children. He attended Ogelle Primary School, Ughelli (1994-1999), Otovwodo Grammar School, Ughelli (2000-2004), Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State (2009-2013). He Obtained B.Ed (Accounting) in the Niger Delta University and currently engaged in a Master’s programme in the Niger Delta University.
Currently, he is the Lead Researcher at MJE Resources, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State. He is the sole administrator of its affiliates/subsidiaries at NDU Admissions and UTME (Facebook), MJE Resources (Facebook), MJE Resources.ng (Facebook), and www.admissionsandutme.com.
Now known as Michael Oghenenyoreme Julius, the author have a penchant for learning and education in general. His major objective for writing this book was based on his involvement in admission processes since 2011 and has seen students over time make mistakes or took wrong choices in their choice of career and after being admitted, they either change their courses again or perform poorly in the chosen course. He is currently working on another material to aid students and parents on career paths.
This book is aimed at students from the early stage. That is, from their applicant status straight up to University stage. This book will guide and assist you do all you can to be admitted and not wasting your money and time to write UTME and Post UTME again.
Thank you very much for your patronage.
We look forward to get your comments and observations at www.admissionsandutme.com.
Michael O. Jules.