You have just finished your O or A levels and have received your results. You must be feeling on top of the world if you passed, yet overwhelmed with all the different options before you. If you haven't, chin up and work hard for the re-sit or next year. But what happens next?

If you're one of the lucky few who already know what they want to do, go for it if it's realistic. Reading the rest of this will not do you any harm, though.

The first thing you should consider is to look at all options. If you finished your A-levels, pop down to the University of Malta and look at ALL the courses you can apply for. There is a career guidance department that is of great help. 

The University of Malta is not the only option after your A-levels, but it is the more traditional option. If you choose another path, be it a professional course (such as ACCA), MCAST or a foreign University, be ready to explain your decision in future job interviews, as there is a false belief that the other options are for those who did not manage to get into the University of Malta. That said, the University of Malta offers very high-quality courses which you do not have to pay extra for, plus student life is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Similarly, if you just finished your O-levels, look at all subjects you can take at a higher level. Once you have all options at hand, you can start to eliminate some that are not of interest. For example, if you are sure you do not want to become an accountant, count it out.  If you are unsure, leave it in. This will leave you with a shorter list of options.

Try to choose options that open rather than close doors, especially when just finishing your O-levels. Choosing to study pure mathematics at A-level is no mean feat, but it has its advantages in that it grants you access to more degrees at university level.

You can pursue a degree in economics with an A-level in economics or pure maths, but only the latter will grant you access to an engineering degree. Similarly, it is easier to switch from formal A-levels to more vocational courses (such as MCAST) rather than vice-versa.

The last thing you should do is talk. Talk to your friends about their - and your - decisions. Talk to other individuals who are slightly older and going through the course you are interested in, individuals who have just started working and older folk who don’t know what Nintendo is and have not sat for an exam in years.

However, in the end, it is your decision.

The path to success is more like a game of snakes-and-ladders than a straight line, so make sure you keep sight of most ladders and don’t be disheartened by the snakes.

Dominic does not give mathematics private lessons so he is not suggesting to do mathematics at Advanced Level to increase his potential customer base. You can bother him on Twitter @domcortis.

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