Whoa. Now my hope is getting brighter.

Why Study in UP?

By now, you’re probably aware of what you can expect from the University of the Philippines College Admission Test (UPCAT).  You’re armed with knowledge and very, very dangerous.  Before you head out to ace the exam, however, pause to consider one very important question:  why take the test in the first place?

“But that’s a no-brainer,” you may protest.  “I want to get into the university, study, blah, blah, blah.”  Well and good.  Dig a little deeper, though, and you may just find the answer…

…Or not.  If you’re still not exactly sure why you’re taking the UP plunge, here are a few good reasons for doing so.

Bagging the Bragging Rights

The first and most obvious reason is being able to tell others that you survived one of the most difficult local college admission tests known to man.  It’s no secret that the UPCAT mortality rate is quite high:  out of tens of thousands of students who tackle the exam, only perhaps one or two thousand actually pass it and earn the right to study at UP.

There are exceptions to this, however.  As was mentioned in a previous article, it is entirely possible for students to forego taking the UPCAT and still get into the university, provided taking and passing the talent tests required of certain courses.

Premium Education at a Government-Subsidized Price

Who says that a college education need be expensive?  At UP, government subsidies ensure that you pay a tuition fee that’s considerably lower (read: less than half) than that of private universities.  To further ease the strain on your pocket, UP also offers financial assistance to deserving students in the form of cash subsidies, tuition fee waivers, scholarships and what not..

Just because you get a lower tuition fee doesn’t mean that the quality of instruction is anything to sneeze at.  If it’s any indication of how comprehensive a UP education can be, just take a look at the sheer number of courses being offered:  a whopping two hundred forty-six programs for undergraduates and three hundred sixty-two more for graduate students, all of which are distributed over twelve constituent campuses.

What’s more, nearly half of all UP professors have at least a master’s degrees in their respective disciplines, while almost a third of them have the letters “Ph.D” stamped after their names.  You can be sure that you’re getting more than your money’s worth at the state university.

Friends with Benefits

Besides easing up on your budget, there are other pretty perks involved when it comes to studying at the national university.  One of the things you will notice when you study there is the size of the campus itself.  That, coupled with the generally liberal academic atmosphere of the institution, lends itself well to research, exploration, feats of unabashed creativity and just plain fun.

Of course, there are also more down-to-earth things such as discounted health services in the University Clinic and the Philippine General Hospital, access to the uber large eLib database and access to a variety of research centers.  Representatives from both Board of Regents and the University Student Council will also keep a watchful eye on the students and look after their well-being.

For the Record

If you’re a UP graduate, chances are you’ll be respected by your colleagues regardless of your chosen discipline.  The reason:  no other university out there can claim to have produced the largest number of both National Scientists and National Artists.  No surprise there, considering the university’s formidable batting average with regard to licensure exams in law, medicine, engineering and other fields.

And if those honors weren’t already enough, UP also bears the distinction of being the only Philippine member of such associations as the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) and the ASEAN-European University Network (ASEA-UNINET).  The state university is also one of a couple of Philippine Universities in the ASEAN University Network (AUN).

So if you’re thinking of taking the UPCAT, then go for it, by all means.  The test will definitely be a challenging one, but the privileges that you’ll get if you make the grade are well worth the time and the effort spent.

10 Things to Consider when Choosing a College Course or a College Major

Choosing a college major for some is easy; some people know exactly what they want to be when they grow up.  For others, choosing a college major is probably one of the hardest decisions they will make in their life.  It doesn’t help that there are now a lot of college courses and college programs among which you have to choose.

There was once a time when choices were simple: good or evil, ketchup or mayonnaise, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts.  Nowadays, you have to choose between shades of gray, one gazillion condiments and a plethora of majors.

The trick in making a college major choice, they say, is to narrow things down as you go along.  This article will help you do that.  The following are some of the things you must consider when choosing a college course.

Choosing your college major consideration # 1:  Your Interest

The most basic consideration in the choice of a college major or college course is, of course, what you want.  Is there something that you’ve always wanted to get into, something that resonates within the very fiber of your being?  If so, that may be where you’re meant to go.

In the event that you don’t know or don’t feel that siren song, fret not.  You can always go for career assessment care of your local guidance office.  That would certainly make choosing a college course more systematic and easier.

Choosing your college major consideration #2:  Your Aptitude

Choosing a college major also entails an assessment of your skills and talents.  You may know what you want, but do you know what you’re good at?

Interest and aptitude are two different things.  Ideally, you should pursue a college course or choose a college major that allows you to explore both.  In this less than perfect world, however, this is usually not possible for some people.  In that case, you’d have to weigh your priorities:  pick a college major you will be good at or pick a college course that is in line with your interest?  Better yet, find a college course that you will be good at and has the potential of arousing your interest.

Choosing your college major consideration #3:  Your Values

Every career comes with non-quantifiable stuff:  fulfillment, meaning and purpose, pure altruism, you name it.  They help determine what you’d like to get out of a career (and a college major) besides material compensation.

Choosing your college major consideration #4:  Money Matters

Money matters, in more ways than one.  Money matters because it will dictate what course you can or cannot afford.  Money matters should therefore be part of your college major choice.

If it’s one thing you must always factor in, it’s reality.  This can be broken down into a number of sub-considerations.  How much money does the course require you to invest?  How much money do you actually have on hand to invest?  How much money will you (approximately) make if you take up a career in line with that college major?  How much money would you like to earn after college?

Choosing your college major consideration #5:  Time and Practical Considerations

You should also be aware of what you’re getting into when choosing a college major.  What will your college course require you to do?  Are you willing to do it?  As a case in point, if you’re squeamish about the sight of blood, why should you decide to go for a Nursing Degree?

How much time are you willing to invest in your college course and major?  If you want school to be over and done with as soon as possible, then you should probably not choose a college course that won’t be useful without further study.

Choosing your college major consideration #6:  Your Commitment

Choosing a college course requires you to look inwards and assess your commitment to your chosen path.  Assuming that you have the issue of money and other practical considerations settled, do you actually possess the skills and the patience to go the distance?  Moreover, do you actually want to do so?  There’s also a chance that your parents may be expecting you to tread a certain academic path; will you have the strength and the will to stick it out against all odds?

Choosing your college major consideration #7:  The Times

Nope, you don’t have to read the Times to know what college course to pick (Yup, that’s a lousy joke).  Kidding aside, don’t ever forget to consider the times in your decision-making process.  Case in point:  the global economy was in a bit of a slump at the time I wrote this article.  There are instances when certain courses may appear to be more profitable or more popular than others due to current circumstances.

Choosing your college major consideration #8:  Other People’s Feedback

Besides guidance counselors, family and friends, you may also want to ask other people for their opinions regarding the matter.  College alumni and alumnae always make for interesting interviews-been there, done that.  Professors and classmates will also have a lot of significant input to offer.

Choosing your college major consideration #9:  Your Choices

Also, do remember that there are some benefits to doing things by the book-or more specifically, the college’s catalogue of courses.  Take a peek and note the unit and credit requirements for each course, along with whatever minors and electives you can take as part of the package deal.

Choosing your college major consideration #10:  Spiritual Considerations

Finally, know this:  you’ll most likely change courses-even careers!-as you go along, so don’t be overly fixated on any one course.  No one course is the end all and be all.  There are numerous examples of people out there who majored in one thing and built a career or three out of another.

If you’re a believer, though, I strongly recommend that you pray about it ask God what He wants you to take.  After all, only He knows what path you will ultimately tread.