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What should i study? 7 tips for choosing a degree

What should i study? 7 tips for choosing a degree

You have graduated or are about to graduate from school and are now wondering “What should I study?” We can’t answer that question, but our seven tips can help you find an answer.

As the saying goes – “If you have a choice, you are spoiled for choice”. There are around 3,600 different courses of study at universities, private universities, technical colleges and university colleges of teacher education in Austria. If you are also still looking for the right place to stay, there is also a wide choice of furnished apartments for rent in Vienna and Graz.

So it is understandable that the question: “What should I study?” inevitably arises for many school leavers. In the following, we want to give you seven tips to help you find the right course for you.

Take your time

About 30 percent of all students in Austria drop out of their studies. This high number would probably fall if every prospective student took their time to choose a degree and collected all important information. Often the reason given for dropping out is that the subjects and contents that were actually envisaged from the course title were not on the curriculum at all.

The solution is very simple: The curriculum for each degree programme are available from the website of every university, technical college and university of applied sciences. And it lists the subjects that are taught.

In addition, you should not restrict yourself to studies with the exact same name or to searching in your region. Maybe the course that is perfect for you has a different name elsewhere and is not offered in your city.

Tap into sources of information

Not only do websites of universities and technical colleges display curricula, but also all relevant information that can influence your choice of course. Which degrees will you receive during your studies: Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science or something completely different? Do you have to pay tuition fees? etc.

As a rule, universities, private universities, technical colleges and university colleges of teacher education offer information days where you can appear in person. Here, too, you will receive all important information and get all your questions answered. If you’re game, you can write to students of your chosen university in the social networks and get first-hand information.

You can find a lot of inspiration and information at study and career fairs. These events for school leavers now take place across Austria. Here employers and universities are gathered in one place and you can go from booth to booth for advice. And regarding the perfect place to live during your studies, colivi will help you to find cheap apartments for rent.

More Infos: Flatshare Vienna

Your personality matters

There are several approaches to help you find out which degree is right for you. We have put together important points to stimulate ideas. The best thing to do is to take a pen and piece of paper and calmly write down the points that match the following questions.

woman with laptop

What’s fun for me?

That’s one of the most important questions. First of all, you should enjoy the content that is taught in the course or it should at least arouse your interest. With a degree such as business informatics, you may be able to earn more money later than with social work – but that won’t do you any good if you don’t enjoy the work.

So take your time to think about which school subjects you were interested in, which professions you find exciting and which activities you do in your free time. Write down everything you can think of – you can always sort it out later.

What are my strengths and weaknesses?

Another important question is about your strengths and weaknesses. Do you like to work in a team or do you prefer to work in an individual office? Do you like to travel a lot or do you prefer life in your home town? Which school subjects did you not enjoy at all?

For example, if you were bad at maths and physics at school, you will not be happy in a degree such as industrial engineering or mechanical engineering.

What are my personal goals?

What’s important to you in life? Of course, the salary should be enough for a life free of worry. But beyond that? Are you striving for a lot of money, a great career? What kind of family life do you plan do have?

Because you should keep in mind that big salaries and a great career are often achieved by foregoing free time.

Follow your passion

You’re sitting in a career information centre at the student advisory office and the student advisor tells you that degree X will lead to great salary and career prospects? But your heart beats for degree Y? If there are no solid arguments against degree Y, you should opt to study what your heart is “burning” for.

Because, as already mentioned, learning will be free of torture only if you enjoy your studies.

love to learn

Don’t ignore the financial aspect entirely

When considering what to study, you shouldn’t completely ignore money. It might help when you have to choose between several courses. For example, if you are interested in mechanical engineering, civil engineering and a degree in architecture, it might help to know that architects earn less and become unemployed faster than civil engineers and that the latter in turn earn less than mechanical engineers. On the other hand, if mechanical engineering is out of the question for you, tip 4 applies: Follow your passion.

In order to save some money, Colivi will help you to find the right apartment or shared flag to live. For example, with a fully furnished Colivi flatshare, you don’t have to buy short-term items. Here you can find more infos about that: Vienna apartments for rent.

Ask your parents for advice, but don’t let them decide

Parents and relatives play an important role in the decision to study. However, they must not make the decision for you. Perhaps you know of cases where both parents talk their child into their desired course of study.

“That’s solid” or “You’ll never go wrong with it” or “You’ll see that your studies are great” are typical arguments. Or the threat of not funding your studies if it is not a course that your parents have chosen and found appropriate.

As difficult as it can be, get your way! Parents can be good advisers by telling you about their professional life and thus giving you an insight into the various jobs. You can also connect with friends and colleagues who may work in the job you find interesting and want to know more about. But in the end the decision about your studies is your own personal matter.

women sitting on a couch with laptop

You almost can’t go completely wrong

The course should suit you, not the other way around! Find something that suits you and don’t bend over backwards because medicine may have so much prestige or you can do “just about anything” with business administration.

And if you still don’t feel that you have really chosen the right course when you start your studies, there is one more consolation: A degree gives you a bit broader perspective than an apprenticeship, regardless of what you are studying. There are people who started in marketing after studying social pedagogy. Or doctors who go into business consulting. Or teachers who decide to work in business.


What is important is what you do with your studies. This includes internships, voluntary work on university projects and meaningful student jobs. If you are already qualified for other areas during your studies and can credibly explain later in your professional life why you took a less than typical path after studying, you will always have a career option.

And so the question “What should I study?” important as it is, is not a life and death decision. So: Good luck with your choice of studies!

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Bernhard Bauer

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