With the abundance of summer course subjects available, deciding on just one can be a daunting task. Do you opt for a traditional subject that will be useful, even if it’s not a subject you want to pursue in the future? Or do you focus on your ambitions and take a vocational course? There are plenty of ways to choose your course and this blog post will equip you with five great tactics to decipher which course you should pick to enjoy your summer experience to the fullest.
1. Think about your future goals
Looking to the future can often be an effective way to decide what to do in the present. Focusing on your career or university ambitions can greatly narrow down the number of subjects that suit you and provide a perfect starting point for picking a course. If you’re keen to pursue a career in a profession like law or medicine, then opting for a course in these areas will be a great addition to your CV. Taking a course in such vocational disciplines will also provide an ideal opportunity to gain further experience in that particular field and make sure that a career in this sector is for you. Think of it like a Netflix trial before you buy your subscription: you get to enjoy a short insight into the discipline before you commit to many years of studying at university!
You may also be thinking about a different future goal, like attending a British university and preparing your skillset early. A summer course presents a unique chance to really refine key skills that will be invaluable at university, including time management, research and communication abilities. As such, using your university ambitions to pick a course can be a handy way to identify what skills and areas will be of use to you. Start with identifying a general area of study – such as humanities, sciences or arts – and then opt for a course in this area that will equip you with a great set of skills, even if you don’t pursue that particular stream of the discipline at university level. By picking a course in this way, you will gain important transferable skills to help you stand out on future university and job applications.
2. Pick the location first
Some students might find it helpful to narrow down their course choices by first picking the city in which to study. Once you’ve found your summer school provider (which can be compared here), investigate the cities they operate in and begin to think about whether any of them appear particularly fascinating or exciting to you. Identify what sticks out; is it the bustling urban cities, the scenic landscapes, or the local culture that really resonates with you? Some providers may offer courses in all types of locations, whilst others may specialise in a select few areas and subjects, so narrowing down by city can be a great way to ensure you get the most out of your summer experience.
3. Identify what you want to gain from your course
It might be worth thinking about exactly what you want to get out of your summer course, in order to provide you with some key criteria when choosing a course. Some students may be attracted to the idea of studying a challenging subject outside their comfort zone, others might want to improve their knowledge in a discipline they find difficult, whilst a few might want to experience academic life in a British institution.
If you’re wanting to experience British academia in an iconic university but don’t mind which course you do, it may be worth speaking to the summer school provider and identifying their particular specialisms or focus on what skills you might benefit from ascertaining. On the other hand, students sometimes choose a subject that will allow them to get closer to their future goals, try something new or even improve their knowledge in a difficult area. Whether it’s academic advancement, creating connections or enjoying an experimental experience, deciphering what you want to get out of your summer course can be a very useful way to refine your choices.
4. Pick something that interests you
If you’re still undecided on your future ambitions and career goals, it can be incredibly daunting to try and pick a summer course. There’s no need to fear though, as one of the simplest yet most effective ways to choose your course is to just pick one that you think looks interesting. It is often said that you succeed the most by doing what you love, so examining your interests and discovering courses that suit them can be a very effective method to choose an intellectually stimulating, and thoroughly enjoyable, summer course.
For instance, you might have a particular love of numbers but aren’t quite sure if you’d like to be an engineer, a mathematician or even a scientist, but you do know that a course involving data would intrigue you. In this instance, when examining the different technical courses on offer, you might find an unknown area that piques your interest and makes a great course choice. This technique is particularly perfect for those undecided on their future goals and who just want to explore their passions.
5. Think about your current educational career
A final method to help you choose your summer course is to look at the wider picture and pick a course that suits your current position in terms of your educational career. If you’re heading to university soon, it can be incredibly useful to embark on a summer course in your chosen study area, but if you’re a bit younger and university is a way off, it’s a great opportunity to try and focus on finding a subject that ignites your passion.
Students approaching major exams or decision milestones might view the summer school experience as an experimental opportunity to engross themselves into a subject they may never have thought about before. This freedom to pursue niche interests is truly invaluable and can really help shape your future path. Alongside making lifelong friends and exploring a new culture, attending a summer school really offers students the chance to evaluate their current educational position and maybe even create new goals and direction for the future.
Whether you choose to take inspiration from your future goals and interests or from your location preference, there are plenty of great ways to pick a summer school course. Focus on what’s important to you and go from there; you can’t go wrong!