Choosing a major: the Stamford test

I have just taken the Stamford test, offered on the UCAS website. It is based not on your personality traits but on your preferences and interests.

Initially it gives all test-takers the same questions, but later, when you have done the first page, it generates a special page for you to help you narrow down your choices.

As I am interested in too many areas, I was offered too many opportunities. Stamford suggested choices in the following subject areas:

International Studies
Politics Based
General Medical
Modern Languages
History of Art
Design Studies
Philosophy & Theology

It also suggested a very long list with specific courses. Every item was a link, leading to a list of couse opportunities in specific UK universities. For further details, you could check with specific universities.

If I were applying to university now, I would have either to give up most areas of interest to choose a single course or opt for the combined honours option. If that still felt rather confining, I would (1) choose to study in another country where liberal arts education is available, (2) choose a course / combined honors I am most attracted to and explore the other areas outside the university course – by reading books, taking up courses, etc., (3) take a year off to explore myself and the world (which might include taking stray university courses too).

I would have been happier if these links took me to related career profiles first, but as they don’t I can simply google for them 🙂

Interest based tests help you eliminate some areas you are not interested in, but they could also “help” you eliminate some areas that could be of interest to you if you had a realistic idea of them. They also does not account for your personality characteristics: you might be interested in a subject, but some related to it careers do not match your personality.

I suggest you take not only subject based tests but also personality tests.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by jeof on December 12, 2011 at 11:59 am

    i can’t belive they have taken the stamford test off the ucas website. I was planning on using this resource and i am appalled by the removel of this.


    • Posted by Steve on January 7, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      I’ll second this..

      UCAS have stated they’re working on a new tool (Which is great!) but surely there was no reason to remove the current one until the new one is ready??


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