The X-factor that decides your career
Updated on Oct 22, 2018 - 2:42 p.m. IST by Amita Jain

Rome wasn’t built in a day, so how can a career be? Here is a look at how to make an informed decision when choosing a stream in school to steer towards the right career…

Aditi (name changed) had developed anxiety disorder when her teachers stepped in to tell her parents, both IIT alumni, that she is a person of languages, not of science. Talking about her case, Upasana Kinra, Behavioural and Career Counsellor at DPS International Saket and a Consultant at British Council, says, “She was an excellent student, sensitive, sensible and a good scorer in all the subjects. Taking a cue from her parents, this Agra girl always thought she wanted to do science, but teachers who knew her personally knew better. She took science and was doing very well until she suffered an anxiety attack and fell ill. She was on psychiatric medication and couldn’t attend school for three months. It was then she realized she didn’t want to do science. But, she completed class 11th and passed with good marks. Eventually, we talked to the parents and took her for psychometric evaluation which suggested her to go for humanities and she repeated class 11 in humanities. I can never forget the day when in class 12th she emerged as the topper of CBSE board in Agra.”

Uncertainties galore

The concept of 10+2 education and the career one pursues is highly intertwined. Higher education stream choices are considered as determinants of a child’s career, which, in turn, makes this a crucial choice for parents, teachers and students alike. “There is a very small percentage of students who are very clear as to what they want to do in life. It rarely happens that what students want, what the parents want and what society wants of them is in sync. Most students are not very clear because there are too many opportunities around and too many voices they can’t ignore,” adds Upasana.

School as an active mediator

From parental and peer group pressure to teachers and their own expectations, students go through a lot of stress when choosing a stream. “The role of schools is very important at this juncture. It is the moral responsibility of schools as educators to guide their students towards a successful career path. A school can have career counselling sessions, seminars, visits from industry and discussions for students,” says Dr Seethalakshmy, Academic Director, Empros International School, Pune.

of Rs. 7 lakhs per annum and upwards.

Easing the choice-making process                                          

Individually, all the streams are good. Every stream has a big scope depending upon one’s ability, attitude, learning and efforts put into the subject. Upasana says, “First and foremost, students and parents have to remain realistic. Look at the kind of marks a student has been getting from classes 8 to 10. There should be a consistency of marks and then also see whether or not they genuinely like to study that subject. Also, get the psychometric evaluation done which can help you understand the child’s aptitude and interest. Make your kids talk to their teachers, industry-people and reflect objectively on their interests and strengths.”


Popular Graduation streams




Aerospace Engineering, Agricultural Science, Anthropology, Audiology, Architecture, Pharmacy, AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy), MBBS/BDS, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Nutritionist, Forensic Science, Genetics, Geology, Engineering, Medical Lab Technology, Nursing, Optometry




Actuarial Science, Accountancy, Chartered Accountancy, Financial Planning, Business Management, Statistics, Urban Planning, Finance, Company Secretaryship, Economics, Investment Analysis, Cost and Management, Accountancy, Law (Commerce), Financial Markets, Banking &     Insurance




Animation, Physical education, Computer Application, Political Administration, Game Design, Psychology, International Relations, Hospitality, Law, Journalism and Mass Communication, Visual Merchandising, Translation Studies, Fashion Technology, Ethical Hacking, Travel and Tourism, Accessory Design, Cinematography, Event Management

Choosing streams    

  • HUMANITIES: Humanities as a subject is an academic discipline which deals with the study of the ‘Human Condition’, utilizing methodologies that are usually analytical, critical or speculative. “One of the several benefits of pursuing the humanities stream is that it provides students with a plethora of career options that are more vocational rather than just academic,” says Dr Seethalakshmy.


  • COMMERCE: Commerce is a study of trade, business, finance and accounts which encompasses each and every process and activity that takes place in any commercial organization at any level. Students who pursue this stream can expect their careers to revolve around these activities. As per Dr Seethalakshmy, those taking up commerce should be good in general knowledge, have a good reading habit, especially of present-day happenings.


  • SCIENCE: Science stream opens pathways for medical and engineering careers, along with many others. Dr Seethalakshmy says, “Science stream is popular due to several reasons, one of them being that students from science stream can go for commerce or arts subjects as well in graduation, while those from commerce or arts cannot pursue science courses in graduation.” However true, it should be remembered that the science stream is very demanding in nature. Thus it should be ensured that not only one has to have an aptitude for the stream, he/she should also have an interest in studying science.


Critical thinking is the key

Critical thinking is the ability to evaluate information to determine what exactly is right or wrong. “Critical thinking is not an extra ingredient that you have to add in the syllabus. You have to ask the questions differently in the class instead of asking ‘how and what’ questions, design ‘why’ questions. Design lesson plans, including group activities et al from the same books you have been teaching from,” advises Upasana. “You need to follow these simple rules -- Be involved, but not in control; Advise, but do not decide and Support, but do not dominate,” Dr Seethalakshmy sums up.

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