How to Decide if Vocational Training or Higher Education is best for you

The first crossroads a person comes to in early adulthood is deciding whether to foot down the road of higher education or vocational training.  Especially with today’s western-world crisis, selecting is quite challenging. 

Years ago, in the University of Houston, there was a course available on how to improve in one’s studies.  The first thing the professor made a point of noting was, “If you can imagine yourself doing the particular work, then you’ll succeed. If you simply can’t place yourself in that picture, then you won’t.”

How true that statement is.  Many young people have an inner guide directing them towards one way or another.  They are the lucky ones; for them the choice had been made instinctively long ago.  Likewise for those in deliberation, coming to a decision should be done by the heart.  What one’s heart desires most should be the deciding factor.

Answering questions like the following will help this process (putting them in writing is useful for reflecting):

-Are you the type of person who is good with his/her hands?

-Are you more the sports type or the academic type?

-Do you prefer reading to doing?

-Have you got a flair for the arts or the sciences?

-Are you comfortable working with others or do you prefer working alone?

Once these questions have been answered, take the following points into consideration:

-Academic strengths and weaknesses

-Awards; what you find rewarding

-Grade point average (GPA)

-SAT, ACT, or AP scores

Then write down the jobs or careers that interest you.  Of the ones you note, see if you can match them to the above points and answers.  This should give you an idea of where you are more apt to succeed.

Next think about the schools themselves. Is there a preference to study away from home or not? Take a look at the various universities or colleges; what they offer and the costs.  Experts suggest a selection of 10 schools and once those choices have been made, further information may be found through their internet sites. 

Another great idea, if feasible, is to visit as many of those schools as possible.  They may seem one way in theory and another in actuality.  Speaking with young people who attend those colleges or universities would also be valuable. 

Do not overlook your school counselor.  Most counselors can provide valuable assistance since on the one hand it is part of their job and on the other you have been a student of the school and he/she has valuable information that can facilitate in providing you with much needed feedback.

Remember that if you refrain from considering a particular college or university due to cost, first locate that school’s financial aid office.  Listen to what they can or cannot do for you and then decide.  Finally, once you have collected all your information speak with your parents.  They are the ones who worry most about you, who want you to succeed and want you to be happy. 

Last but not least, believe in yourself and trust your judgment.  But above all else, enjoy the journey you are embarking on before reaching the final destination of employment.