Showing posts with label Subject choices. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Subject choices. Show all posts

Saturday, September 23, 2023

High School Students - Think Critically about Your Subject Choices

In the Indian education scenario, many students and their parents have to made an important decision on subject combination and stream selection. Sharing two case studies from my mentoring and counselling experience, to emphasis on the importance of decision making while opting in and opting out of subjects during 11th grade.

Generated by AI Sep 23, 2023

Case Study 1: A bright student, had decided in her 10th grade to pursue Psychology and become a Clinical Psychologist. After completing her 10th grade, she joined an international boarding school to pursue her 11th and 12th. She had dropped Physics from her subject combination while retaining Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Psychology etc. During her 11th and 12th her thinking changed and she was now inclined to pursue Medicine (MBBS). But Physics along with Bio and Chem is a mandatory criterion to appear for NEET (Medical entrance) in India. So now the workarounds to reach her goal were: a. Take a gap year after 12th, enrol in NIOS (Open schooling) to complete Physics and take up NEET. or b. Study Medicine overseas where Physics is not a mandatory criterion.

The 1st scenario will call for a lot of determination, hard work, and conviction from the student, and the 2nd scenario will demand considerable funding (budget) for studying overseas.

The point I am trying to make here is, that just the decision to drop one subject has resulted in long-term implications.

Case Study 2: A bright student in her 12th grade, during the process of mentoring and counselling, shortlisted Biomedical Engineering as one of the career options. She had dropped Biology in her 11th. Well in India, Biology is not a mandatory subject for pursuing BioMed Eng so she can prepare for the JEE (entrance exam) and pursue it. However, in my opinion, since it's application to Engineering in Human Biology, the student will benefit from a stronger foundation in Biology, by studying it for two years (11th - 12th). Once again the point I am trying to make here is, to think long-term critically before making your subject choices as the consequences have long-term implications.

In today's changing world which demands breaking the silos by cultivating a multi-disciplinary mindset, it will pay off for the student by building a foundation that is kept broad and not narrowed down too soon in the academic journey. As we see in the case studies above, interests do evolve and change, and discoveries and new possibilities are recognized as the student matures. In such scenarios, if subjects have been dropped which constitutes the mandatory subjects for pursuing a degree, the student will face a roadblock to reach their goals.

A T-shaped learning model is a good way to plan one's academics and career. The horizontal line represents the broad base of subjects during the foundational years and the vertical line represents the specialization (deep dive) on a particular stream during the advanced years of one's academic life.

Leaving this food for thought for students and parents. Think critically before opting out of subjects and taking a deep dive into the shortlisted one's. Young students are still evolving in their interests and orientation, so it may be wiser to keep an elbow room to change plans, just in case.