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Doubts about what course to take? Most people overlook the student counsellor’s best advice.

Are you in doubt about what programme to choose, where to study, or when to apply? Stine is student counsellor at Aarhus University, and she has a lot of good advice if you are in the process of finding out what you want to study.

2020.02.18 | Jesper Bruun

Stine Skou Nielsen is a student counsellor at Aarhus University School of Engineering, and she is always ready to talk to young people interested in applying for a programme. Photo: Lars Kruse, AU Foto.

It is entirely natural to have doubts about what degree programme to choose. There are many different programmes to choose from, so it can seem overwhelming.

Even though there is a lot of good advice online or from your family and friends, one tip in particular is worth highlighting if you are in any doubt about which programme to apply for.

This is what Stine Skou Nielsen, a student counsellor from the engineering programmes at Aarhus University thinks, and even though it may sound quite simple, according to her it is actually the tip most often overlooked.

"Drop by and visit us! It's a really good idea to pop into any educational institution and talk to student counsellors, teaching staff and students. But this is actually something many people don't even think about, even though that’s where that they’ll be spending the next many years of their life," says Stine.

Can be crucial

In Stine’s opinion, it is a good idea to visit u-days on 27-29 February 2020, when all degree programmes in Aarhus will be holding open house. This means you can visit several different programmes on the same day.

A visit to u-days can be crucial according to Stine, because it can help you feel more relaxed about your choice. You will get to see the place and the facilities, and you will meet students and other young people, so you will not be totally green when, and if, you start. And you will be able to talk to those with the best insight into the study programme, the city, the programme and the career opportunities.

Another good tip according to Stine is to keep your options open by applying for several different degree programmes and by applying via quota 2.

"Instead of thinking that there’s only one dream programme for you, and that your world will fall apart if you are not admitted to it, it’s a really good idea to apply for a number of different programmes. This will give you more chances of being admitted," she says.

Quota 2 is a good idea

If you apply for quota 2, you will have an extra chance of being admitted compared with just applying for quota 1. There are different requirements when you apply for quota 2, so there’s bit more work involved and you need to apply earlier, as the application deadline for quota 2 is 15 March.

However, this extra effort may be well worth it, if you get on your first-choice degree programme.    

"Furthermore, it’s important to remember that we can help with many of the other concerns you might have. For example, finding a student residence if you have to move to Aarhus. Many people are unaware that there’s a housing guarantee in Aarhus. The guarantee applies for new students who start a degree programme in Aarhus in the autumn semester. Basically, the housing guarantee means that you move up in the queue, and you’ll be offered accommodation before, or shortly after, commencement of studies.”

"And of course, you should remember to enjoy it and have fun," says Stine, adding that it is also quite natural to ask a lot of questions when everything is so new.

"Nobody understands everything from day one. Sometimes you’re very busy, and sometimes it's just damn hard to understand the material, so you have to accept that you’re in a learning process. It’s completely normal to be overwhelmed and confused, and remember that you’re in the same boat as all your fellow students, so support and help each other."

AU Engineering