3 S’pore undergrads share the advice their parents gave them when choosing a university

Parents do give the best advice, sometimes.

| Fiona Tan | Sponsored | January 06, 2022, 11:55 AM

Choosing a university is no walk in the park, especially when the fate of your future largely can rest on this one decision.

This is especially difficult for fresh-faced youths, whose main priority is to live in the moment to make the most of their teenage years.

With so much fun to be had, it is easy to understand why youths may find it difficult to see that far into the future.

Very often instead, they turn to their most reliable source of information: Their parents, people who they look up to and have gone through this same stage in life.

This is the case for three undergraduates in Singapore, who consulted their parents for advice and guidance before ultimately arriving at their final decision.

Here are some of the sage advice that these undergraduates received:

1) Path should be in line with interests to achieve objectives

For Niekie, who underwent and graduated from a similar course in poly, the decision to further her education in Tourism and Hospitality was an obvious choice that was as clear as day.

Ultimately, this was where Niekie’s “interests and talents” lie, and not to mention was approved and supported by her parents.

Image courtesy of Niekie Blom.

Niekie was stumped, however, when it came down to choosing her second major. This was when she decided to turn to her parents, as she knew they would be able to give her advice “based on their past experiences”.

“Even though our lives and the way we react to things are very different, it doesn't change the fact that they have been here longer than us. What we are experiencing right now is something they have already gone through.”

Combining that with their knowledge of Niekie, specifically what she would enjoy pursuing in her future jobs, Niekie said her parents gave her additional insight into what would be the best choice for her second major.

Niekie eventually chose to enroll in James Cook University’s (JCU) Bachelor of Business where she double majored in Hospitality and Tourism Management, and Marketing.

Looking back post-graduation, Niekie is grateful for her parents advice as she is now in a field that she can see herself for “many years to come”.

2) Access to “diverse” cultural backgrounds

Reuben had a brief stint in a start-up after graduating from Singapore Polytechnic with a Diploma in Infocomm Security Management.

During his time in the start-up, Reuben realised the importance of possessing a strong business acumen.

This would complement his IT skills, and when combined, will allow him to move fluidly across various business functions.

With a course in sight, Reuben said he went to his parents armed with several university options to glean their perspective and insights.

Image courtesy of Reuben Ng.

Reuben’s parents could also help to assess whether the course he had in mind would help him meet his objectives, and they attended various open houses.

Reuben’s mother, Lucy, advised him to choose a university with a diverse pool of students, amongst other factors.

Lucy told Reuben that being able to connect and work with faculty members and students of various nationalities and backgrounds would help him “understand cross-cultural thinking, practices and differences“.

“This is crucial to our global economy,” said Lucy.

With Lucy and his father’s guidance, Reuben made the final decision and enrolled in JCU’s Business course, and majored in Management.

Image courtesy of Reuben Ng.

3) Gather information from real-world accounts

Since Abigail was a child, her parents have taught her the importance of considering personal risk-reward when it comes to making her own decisions.

This process allowed Abigail to take ownership and arrive at her decisions autonomously, which in turn established trust in her parents and to continue to win their assurance and full support.

But when it came down to picking a course and university to enrol in, Abigail approached her parents as she wanted them to weigh in with their own unique perspectives.

In response, Abigail's parents told her that each choice came with opportunities, and with varying effects, all of which Abigail has to take into account when making her decision.

Image courtesy of Abigail Low.

As those who typically consult and consolidate information from the internet, industry professionals, as well as from people familiar with the subject matter, Abigail’s parents went further by connecting their daughter with their friends.

These were people who were already “in the field” at prospective industries that Abigail could also turn to for advice.

Information about the course and university were also pulled from existing students and alumni, before Abigail eventually enrolled in Bachelor of Psychological Science and Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours) at JCU.

Image courtesy of Abigail Low.

Being informed is important

In fact, Niekie and Reuben’s parents echoed the similar advice as Abigail’s parents: To conduct research and gather information from various sources.

This was done either through searching for information online, attending the universities open houses physically, speaking to industry professionals, or asking friends who were enrolled in the specific university course.

All of these were necessary for Niekie, Reuben, Abigail and their parents to gain insight into the university, its courses and prospects, and helped the parents be involved in their children’s academic plans.

JCU Parents' Forum

If you’re a parent of a child who is charting his/ her university path, like Niekie, Reuben and Abigail, you might want to consider attending JCU’s upcoming parents' forum.

Through the JCU Parents' Forum 2022, parents will be able to speak with JCU’s regional manager of pathway programmes, and university course representatives via the live Q&A sessions.

Parents can also get an inside look at JCU’s programmes through recorded course previews.

There will also be student talks, career talks, course previews, and a virtual campus tour all of which would help parents better understand the pathways available for their children.

The JCU Parents' Forum 2022 will be held on Jan. 15, 2022.

Parents who are interested in getting more information can register here.

This sponsored article by JCU allowed the writer to explore the JCU Singapore campus virtually.

Top image courtesy of Abigail Low