Using data-based decision making to select your uni course

Girl researching on her laptop in a park

Choosing a uni and a course to preference in Year 12 is a daunting task, but are you really using all the information in front of you to make the best decision?

Choosing uni preferences is the first important decision many Year 12 students make on the path to their dream career, and students in the modern have more options than ever before. As automation in the workplace drives demand for more specialised skills, higher education has grown. Now, worldwide there are over 28,000 universities to choose from.

If you’re struggling to make a choice, data-based decision making can help your selection process. Focusing on a few sets of objective data will help you to see the big picture, and give you practice for how you can approach other problems later in your university career.

Minimising the cost of studying

The term ‘affordable’ is often bounced around when discussing university, and for good reason. While the Australian student loan system might be favourable for students compared to other countries, over 3.2 million Australians have outstanding student loan debts, totalling more than $66 billion.

As such, data sources such as the cost of living calculator are essential to find the best location to study while minimising your student debt. Recently, Perth was named the most affordable capital city in Australia in The Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, run by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Following your dream course

Most students consider the course and course content the most important factors influencing their uni decision. If you fall into this camp, looking at data sources such as reviews and course libraries should be the first step to finding a course best-suited to you. From there, a deeper dive into relevant information is needed.

Assuming you are passionate about the subject you’ll study for three or four years, among the most important factors should be evaluating career opportunities. To a large extent, the course you select will determine if you will reach your desired post-school destination.

Things like earning potential (expected salaries after study) and rates of employment after study must be part of the equation. Resources like QILT can help you to understand rates of graduate employment relative to universities, as well as giving insight into things like student experience

It’s also important to gain practical work-related experience through the course so, take a look at universities which offer this.

The future of your industry

Of course, the way your dream career exists now might change over the years to come. When looking at how your industry might change, look at new factors which could disrupt the current state of play.

We’re in the age of automation, so it’s wise to assess whether your dream job is at risk of being replaced by it. Another tip: instead of looking at what jobs look cool in the media, seek out the experiences and opinions of friends and/or family members who have worked in these industries.

The current job market is a highly competitive landscape, and the first step to getting an advantage over others is your choice of a university course. By considering all the data available, you’ll be able to make the most informed and realistic choice possible. In addition, you’ll be less likely to drop out, second-guess your choice, or have a poor university experience.

Career-wise, it’s difficult to predict where you’ll be in a few years. There’s no formula to perfectly match you to a university course. At best, it all comes down to doing due diligence and letting data be your guide. Basing your decision making on data is the best introduction for challenges that lie ahead soon.

If you enjoyed using data based decision making, you could be suited to a career in a degree in technology.

About the author

Dr. Jeremy Nunn

Dr Jeremy Nunn is Founder and Director of technology company Workmetrics. Dr. Nunn is a Murdoch alumnus, having completed his Doctorate of IT, Master of Science and Bachelor of Science at Murdoch University.

Posted on:

14 Nov 2019



Share this article:

Show your support

Clap to show your support for the article