Admission Seekers: How To Choose A Course/Programme to Study in University

When students are aspiring for University education, many challenges bedevil them. One of such is what course or programme of study to choose. Truly, many admission seekers may already have a programme of study to choose – but this is not same with a majority of the admission seekers in Nigeria. Many of them are bereft of career choices as a result of inadequate career tutelage. This is often caused as a result of lack of adequate information. This is the lacuna that this page is set to fill. A & U Online is a vocational outfit established to give timely, dependable and correct information to Nigerian admission seekers with particular emphasis on Universities. We sincerely hope this pub helps you scale through.

2020/2021 JAMB Discuss: What You Must Consider Before Choosing a Course/Institution

The act of choosing a course of study one intends to read in the university is a process. Earlier, I had attempted to dichotomized career selection into six different stages namely – idea conceptualization, consultation, selection (choice), career development, career adjustment and career sustainability. Idea conceptualization takes place from birth till later part of one’s secondary school days (probably from SS1 – SS3). At this stage, you conceive ideas, knowledge and use same to formulate what you want to do and be. The consultation stage comes in when within SS1-3, you are asked to select a class. You may want science class, arts class or social science class. At this stage, many may be confused and contact their peers, family and other dependable societal members for assistance through constructive dialogue. This is what I referred to a career choice dependence. See link below:


The selection stage comes in whence admission seekers have been able to get the needed information and come to a conclusion of what they really want to do. They just “point and kill”, in this sense, making the actual decision. Once you have selected a course of study and have been granted admission in that course, the work is never finished there. The next thing is the development of yourself in the chosen field. Career development spans throughout lifetime and even encompass career adjustment and career sustainability. Read more about the career model by clicking the link below:

A Model for Career Choice

To choose a course of study, there are various dimensions and components of variables that admission seekers need to consider before they actually make a choice. These factors cut across personal, environmental and institutional factors. To make this material interesting, we are going to look at these factors one after the other. First of them all is the personal factors. What are the factors found in you that you must consider before you select a course of study in the university?

Consideration of Personal Factors in Career Selection

  1. Capacity and Capability

There have been academic discussions on the issue of personal variables considerations in the selection of students’ career. The bogus one of them all is capacity and capabilities. While capacity is the maximum level of your performance/knowledge/understanding above which you will fail, capabilities on the other hand refers to the ability to do something. While they can be mistaken for the same, in this context however, they are basically two different things. Take capacity for instance. From my primary school till date, I do not understand Mathematics. All my efforts to understand Mathematics have always been thwarted. In my childhood, when you want to achieve something at all cost, you say “I dom vex” (I am charged up) or “show your last muscleeeee” (also charged up and geared up for something). And so, all the show your muscle for Mathematics returned only woeful failure. Now, do not judge that I am not intelligent. My capacity cannot carry much calculation. That is how the human brain is. It has capacity limit. There have been others too who knows Mathematics but do not know English. The use of words in writing (not only English alone but anything long essay in any language) is very difficult for them. Still, there are those who understand nearly everything. This is just the capacity issues.

Niger Delta University 2020/2021 Post UTME WhatsApp Group

Then, when we come to capabilities, it has to do with what you can really do with your capacity. A generator for instance may have the capacity to carry 20 light bulbs. But as time passes, after a period of utility, you realize that the capability is going down. Then, it may be able to carry merely 10 or 15 bulbs. While the stated capacity is 20 light bulbs, the capability now is merely 10 bulbs. This is at least, the difference between both terms.

Now, as a student, you must understand your capacity and capabilities. For me as a student who do not know mathematics, what is making me to choose a course like Mathematics/Computer Science? “Abi I dom drink?” These are the issues. If you want to succeed quickly in your chosen career, endeavour to choose a course of study your ability, capacity and capability can carry. Parents must learn not to impose any course on their wards neither must students study a course imposed on them when they know their brains cannot carry such. Read more on career imposition by clicking the link below:

Law or Nothing: Perspectives and Implications of Career Imposition

  1. Interest

Interest has also been fingered as a basic personal variable across studies in the research community to be an important factor to consider when choosing a career. Imagine a girl who likes dancing, modeling and acting and the parent is forcing her to study Medicine. Daddy, you will visit your daughter in school one day only to find her dancing with Theatre Arts students because that is where she belongs. Parents and societal participants in the career assistance hierarchy must acknowledge interest as a very good indicator of career success, hence due credence must be given to it when giving career assistance to university admission seekers.

  1. Commitment

Commitment here will not be robustly discussed because it cut across studies in general. Any programme of study chosen deserves a level of commitment in reading, researching and deep thought process to ensure students emerge successful. However, students, before they aspire to go to the university must understand whether they can be committed to their studies because academics require a great deal of commitment to excel.

Consideration of Environmental Factors in Career Selection

The environment is another important factor that an admission seeker must consider when choosing a course of study in the university. What are the considerations you must understand in the environment?

  1. The Family

Talking about the family, I mean the parents basically. Parents constitute the major chunk of children’s educational sponsorship. Consider your parental income. Ask yourself if they would be able to pay your fees. If you leave the house, can you feed well? Will there be materials for you? Will your educational fees not be a huge burden for your parents? If your parents can handle this, then you are good to go.

Still on your family, do you have any opposition from your parents about the programme of study you chose? This is another dimension of familial issues in course selection. Most parents are very adamant – it is either what they tell you to study or nothing. While it is commendable that such parents have set a path for their wards in life thereby not leaving them to their rose-coloured sunglass point of view in career selection, it is noteworthy that career imposition is very wrong. From a vocational counselling point of view, we do not allow third parties to choose courses of study for students. We make the coast clear for personal selection. This is to say we make information such as this one you are reading possible for admission seekers and they read to their understanding and make decisions consequent of what they have read. So, career choice imposition is a kind of crime that the Nigerian Senate have to look into, make a bill on it and criminalize parents who instead of helping children discover themselves, enforce uninteresting but high-tasking programmes of study on their wards. So, admission seekers should consider familial variables and how they are affected before selecting a course of study.

  1. Religion

Most of my papers, including my ongoing M.Ed. thesis have pointed to the religious factor in the career selection process. Religion plays a key role in the career selection process. For example, the theory of evolution in the teaching and learning Philosophy may offends the sensibilities of most religiously inclined persons and this may even lead to withdrawal of students from certain schools. Take another instance, as a core religious person, you may not really want to study religious studies in the university because the content of religious studies in the university has a strong theme for ATR (African Traditional Religion). My tribe Urhobo call it “Igbe”, and it has been widely held to be a core religion for magicians, sorcerers, diviners, witchery, devilish inclinations and many other Satanic endeavours. There are other religious implications in career selection that students must give heed to before their actual selection.

  1. Peers

Peers refer to a group of persons with similar characteristics. Peers can be your classroom mates, religious mates, street playmates, workmates, etc. Peer is very important to students aspiring for university education. There are many admission seekers who do not have personal opinion on what they want to study except they are told or assisted. If you are amongst these crops of applicants, look into your peers, information found in peer group, even though they can be half-baked, can also be a source of great information to admission seekers.

Consideration of Institutional Factors in Career Selection

Institutional factors here refer to university issues, JAMB issues, WAEC/NECO issues amongst others. This is because these are the major institutions involved in the university admission process in Nigeria.

  1. Course Consideration

There are certain courses that are cash intensive than others. They require cash, more time and high intelligent quotient. So ask yourself, this road you want to take, do you have the needed resources listed above? Do your parents have the money? For instance, the Niger Delta University non-indigent students in Medicine pays N200,000 as school fees per session. Meanwhile, Management students of the same category pays N160,000. If you are an indigene, you will pay less like N110,000. So, always put these indicators on the table before you make any career selection (the data above were true as at the 2019/2020 academic session. The NDU however, reserve the right to adjust fees).

  1. University Admission Process

The university admission process is another problematic issue that have altered career counselling efforts over time. A student has been successfully counseled and chosen to study a particular course of study. Behold! The university admitted him to study another course, different from what efforts had yielded. This is very painful to counsellors and admission seekers across boards. But then, this is where we bring in the discourse of career adjustments. Students must always understand that not all time the university grants students admission into desired courses. Year in, year out, courses are usually changed and students must as a matter of fact, develop an alternate plan which they will fall back to when their courses are changed.

To further strengthen this point, let us lift an instance from the Niger Delta University 2019/2020 session admission. After several batches has been released, the university released a list of names of yet to be admitted applicants to change their courses to what is specified in the list to enable them get admission. An analysis of the list indicated that 1,098(56.33%) of students in the list who had earlier applied for Medicine were asked to change their courses. Meanwhile, the NDU Medicine Faculty, according to claims from various anonymous sources admits only 80 students per session at the minimum end, and 120 at the maximum end. A Department that more than a thousand applicants had applied for. So, if this is the case, you can see that many students who applied for highly sought after courses like Medicine, Law, etc. will never get it because of limited university admission capacity.

Source: Michael (2019)

Source: Michael (2019)

Statistical Analysis of 2019/2020 Jambites Requested to Change Courses for Admission Consideration

So you can see that there is always possibility to change your course even if you are qualified. This is because the number of qualified persons who applied may be even more than the capacity of the university. So, learn to have a backup plan that if Medicine does not come, I will take/change to Biological Science or any other related course.

  1. Catchment Area

Do you know? If you attend university in your home state, your school fees/tuition fees is expected to be lower than those who came from another state. So, always consider schooling in your state of origin to minimize expenses. If at all this means something to you. This may not be a consideration for many as they may be able to pay any fee. But we believe there are those whom this information will be invaluable to.

  1. Federal and State University

Across Nigeria, federal universities do not pay school fees. They only accept several miscellaneous charges but the actual tuition fee is not collected. This is why federal universities are cheaper than state university. So look into these things as you make your choice of course and institution.


The factors to consider when choosing a course of study are multifarious. If you do not consider them first and see a good chance for success, it may affect the final outcome. From time to time, I publish materials on vocational tutelage to help you gain admission at all cost. I believe that quick information have its role in the attainment of university education. Follow me on this platform to get all the information you need for admission.

Michael Oghenenyoreme Jules,
Vocational/Business Educator,
Admissions and UTME Nigeria