“What will I be?”

What should students in their 10th or 11th standards and their parents need to keep in mind?

It is often said that if you find a job you love you’ll never work a day in your life. This is not an easy task at all. Most people seem to think that the course one takes up after pre-university or 12th standard, almost always determines one’s career. Deciding which course to join is a taxing exercise especially for youngsters who are confused about what they want.

Illustration: Narasimha Vedala

Youngsters need to balance their talents, interests, parents’ expectations, and market demands to determine their next steps.It is important for parents and children to sit down and come up with an action plan to ensure they get into the right higher education course.

There are also more choices in courses and career options these days. What should students in their 10th or 11th standards and their parents need to keep in mind?

Career consultant, Annapurna Murthy shares some tips for our readers.

Aptitude and tests

Aptitude is an inherent ability to perform a task. There are different aptitudes like verbal reasoning, mechanical reasoning, abstract reasoning, numerical reasoning, space relations, language ability and so on. Aptitude tests help determine what kind of career will best suit a student.

Personality tests measure 16 different factors like warmth, reasoning, emotional stability, dominance, liveliness, being conscious of rules, social boldness, sensitivity, openness to change, self reliance, perfectionism, et cetera. How much of each personality factor is present in a student will determine her success in a job.

An ‘Interest Schedule’ test will help identify interest in various fields like administration, entrepreneurship, defence, creative fields, performing arts, medical, technical, education, clerical and so on.Mapping aptitude to career

Each career requires a combination of skills. For example, students with abstract thinking and numeric ability will enjoy finance, as well as engineering. Legal profession requires language ability, logical thinking and above average intelligence to be successful. Those with both spatial and numerical ability can do well in architecture, while others who are not so comfortable with numbers may prefer options like fashion designing, fine arts or animation.

A student may have aptitude for multiple careers. If you are confused between such options, look at what you will enjoy the most. For example, if you think you like research and chemistry and enjoy programming, look at an undergraduate programme with maths, chemistry and computer science. That way, after graduation you can decide on which to take up.

For those with special talent in extra-curricular activities, there are graduate courses in sports, music and so on. Scope for niche or offbeat careers is also good nowadays. Students can consider hardware networking, foreign language translation/teaching, Forensic science, choreography, cinematography, radio jockey, modelling and so on and so forth.

Professional courses

Professional courses have their own advantages and can provide a strong analytical foundation. If you have decided on a professional course, PUC 1st year (11th standard) is the best time to start preparing for the entrance exams

Karnataka Common Entrance Test Cell (CET) conducts exams for admission to graduate programmes in Engineering, Technology, Architecture, Medical, Dental, Ayurveda, Unani, Homoeopathy, Indian Systems of Medicine and Naturopathy Yoga. Undergraduate tests are also conducted by COMEDK (Consortium of Medical, Engineering and Dental Colleges of Karnataka) and KMCA (Karnataka Minority Colleges Association).

National Aptitude Test for Architecture, Common Law Admisson Test for admission to the 11 National Law Universities are some other common tests.

To prepare for the entrance exams, make a time table with enough time for all subjects, put in consistent and regular effort, follow the 3R (Read, Remember, Recall) policy. And don’t forget to eat and rest well.

Hard work, aptitude and luck play a role in getting through entrance exams. It is important to prepare backup plans in case you do not get into your desired course.

Parents’ support

Adolescence can be a time of confusion. A student may vacillate between multiple options. Parents should play a supportive role at this time, by lowering expectations, reduce probing and allow the time for a youngster to express himself. Be a good listener, be empathetic, converse openly, don’t criticize their ideas or friends and guide them if they go astray. Don’t  compare them to anyone and gently make them aware of their responsibilities.

If parents and their child strongly disagree on the choice of career direction, aptitude tests can help determine the next course of action.


  1. Manohar sirahatti says:

    This is a very good guide for both children and as well parents, importantly parents need to understand children need too, if not the relationship strains.
    Wish more such articles come to light.

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