Change the world

What should I study at university? Your qualification will impact the rest of your personal and professional life, and that adds a huge amount of pressure to an already difficult decision.

So, where to start?

Perhaps you’re a computer nut and want to build the world’s best app – or you’ve been dreaming of becoming a doctor since you could walk.

Easy choice, then! But for some people, a career path isn’t that straightforward or simple, so the options can feel overwhelming.


Take a deep breath and a good look at yourself. After all, no one knows you better than you do!

Obviously, you’d like to spend your adult life in a career that you really enjoy, so take note of your interests, abilities, skills, values and personality to find a career that best suits you. If you get stuck, ask friends, family members or teachers for their advice – you may be surprised by their insights!

Interests: What are you good at? What are your passions and hobbies? What makes you happy?

Abilities: These are your natural capabilities - the things that you can do better than others. Don’t be shy – acknowledge your strengths.

Skills: These are specific abilities that you have learned to do well and which are now part of who you are. Are you good at public speaking? Are you the best cook you know? Your skills are an important factor when it comes to choosing a career.

Values: Do you want to contribute to society? Are you motivated by making money? Is creativity a key focus? Do you want to help people? Figuring out what is important to you, will help you choose an enjoyable and rewarding career.

Personality: Introvert or extrovert? Do you work better alone or thrive with other people? How do you describe yourself to others? Knowing your personality type will help you figure out your best work environment. Google has loads of tests that you can take.

When you’re creating these lists, it’s important to remember that choosing a career isn’t just about looking at the things you enjoy doing; it’s also about making sure you can turn them into a career.


Now that you’ve assessed yourself, consider the types of careers that best suit your unique qualities.

If you’re unsure of what these are, you can complete this online career questionnaire which will show you the fields you’re interested in, with relevant occupations and study opportunities.

You can also search through our A-Z of career study fields for inspiration, and find out about available qualifications and admission requirements for Nelson Mandela University by watching our Open Day video on YouTube.


Okay, so you’ve identified career options - now it’s time to do more research!

Smart research resources:

  • the internet
  • a teacher, guidance counsellor, community leader, your parents, family or friends
  • chat to someone in your potential career choice area – ask him or her about job stability and required skills
  • do an internet search on ‘future trends’ in your chosen industry
  • offer to volunteer in a field that interests you, such as ‘job shadowing’ someone in retail, for example.


Don’t restrict yourself to only one or two career dreams – there are so many possibilities out there!

If your abilities don’t quite match the career field that interests you, don’t stress. Simply decide if you can pursue another career path, or are willing to put in the additional hard work, sweat (and potential tears) to develop your abilities in a specific area.

“Strive for progress, not perfection”


Now that you have a list of career fields, look at the available qualifications.

  • Is it a higher certificate, diploma or degree?
  • Do you meet the minimum Applicant Score and subject requirements?
  • Are there any additional requirements?

Find all the information that you need in our comprehensive UNDERGRADUATE GUIDE FOR 2022.


Chat to school or career counsellors, life coaches and teachers, who can help you to select programmes that match your abilities and career goals.

Our student recruitment specialists are also here to help! They can help you to understand the qualifications offered and put you in touch with people in your chosen fields.  Make a booking online to chat to one of our specialists today.


Have you ended up with a long list of interests, abilities and passions? No worries.

Write down the POSITIVES and NEGATIVES for each of your options, which will help to narrow down your choices and create a shortlist.

How will you know if it’s the right decision if you never make it? 


It can be scary making an important decision. We worry more about being wrong than we do about being right.

But, you’ve done your research, and no matter what happens, you’ve also done your best with the knowledge that you have.

Whatever you decide, listen to your gut – that inner voice is powerful!

Being excited about your career choice means that you’ll be more motivated to work hard at university, so once you’ve decided, embrace the future with both hands.

The good news is that, if you’re not happy with what you’ve chosen, it is possible to switch programmes. We’re here to help you either way.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Nelson Mandela University family. Start your journey with us today and change the world.

Posted on 12 July 2021 10:15:57

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