We've spent the weekend visiting three university open days with our youngest daughter. It's really a special time when you get to walk around the big wide world of future options with one of your kids. A part of me feels like I'm exploring uni for the first time too, and I hear about all of these things that it would be wonderful to study.
At the same, time there are a bewildering array of options and many young people feel pressured to make the right choice and make it count. I've been bothered for a long time by how much pressure our education system, and indeed society, places on young people in their last two years of high school. Andrew Fuller and others have suggesed that what our system does to them is developmentally inappropriate, since their brains are much better developed when they are in their mid-20's. Our schooling model is fundamentally WRONG (well it was designed to keep people out of the workforce for several years, wasnt it?)
The biggest problem of course is the suggestion that you only have one shot at this and you have to 'get it right'. The reality is that you can study almost anything you want later in life, that most people have at least 3 different kinds of jobs in their life, and that at 17 or 18 no-one knows their long term plans. Add to that the increasing evidence that today's young people learn through experience - they want to try things out - and its mainly about helping them choose something that they enjoy with the clear understanding that ultimately its not about failure.