Family decision: how to choose the right course


Caden is studying Sport and Excercise Science at our Pontypridd Campus. We caught up with him and his mum Tara, to ask how he decided on his course and the role parents play in helping their children decide on a university that's right for them.

How did you choose the right course?

Caden: I looked at my strengths and interests to decide what suited me. I wanted a practical course where I could use my skills in maths and science. I also wanted to work with people, rather than do a purely science-led, lab-based course without much interaction.

Tara: When Caden left school he worked in a pharmacy for a year, which gave him valuable work experience. He didn’t want to be in a lab, so abandoned the idea of studying chemistry, and instead wanted to get involved with people and their health development.

What were the first few weeks of university like?

Caden: I spent the first few weeks adjusting to the campus, which was easy as everything is so close together. There was lots of excitement when I met the lecturers and saw the facilities. The teaching staff are brilliant at welcoming you to the course and making sure you settle in.


How involved should parents be in the application process?

Caden: There needs to be a fair amount of communication and involvement, to make sure the student knows what they want and how to achieve it. Parents need to get the scope of what their child wants to do, but remember they’re adults and should make the choice themselves. It’s a big step, but a necessary one for our progression in life.

Do you have any advice for students?

Caden: Constantly look at the opportunities a university offers. It’s a huge commitment, so look how your interests relate to what you want to study, and what you could go into at the end.

Tara: The reason Caden came to USW was because he found something he was passionate about. That made his choice really easy – especially after chatting to the lecturers and finding out what the course could offer him.


Has university helped you think about your career?

Caden: Yes, definitely. I’d like to study for a PhD in Biomechanics and become a lecturer in the same subject so I can research the field too. The subject really plays to my strengths. I’ve had lots of support from my course leader and lecturers. They tell me what work placements are available and give an unbiased view on my decision making.

Tara: It was important for Caden to study something he was interested in. His course covers such a range of disciplines. When he first started university, we wanted him to study something he could be successful in – I believe he’s found that. A parent’s role is about supporting what your child wants out of their life.

Caden: It’s a career path which will still be interesting and relevant in years to come. The wonderful thing about the course is that it shows you a wide variety of topics and methods of approach.

What’s been the best part so far?

Caden: The facilities at USW are wonderful – they help incorporate the theory we learn in the classroom into real-life practice. Our lab-based work is directly related to our lectures, which is great. We are able to use the fantastic USW Sport Park, and we often have really interesting guest lectures that help bring the subject to life. I love it here!