DESC Careers Information, Advice and Guidance Service

Making Choices

Every day we make decisions. Some decisions are small and easy to make and some bigger decisions need more time and thought. Think back to when you decided which mobile phone you wanted; you are likely to have thought about which type would be suited to your personal needs, the budget, how realistic your perfect phone was, you are likely to have compared the different options carefully. When choosing a mobile phone you wouldn't stick your head in the sand and hope it works out. Did you have to change your mind and consider another option?

Decision making is a process of gathering information to help understand the choices. Gain as much information as possible and make an informed choice. Talk to different people about your ideas and thoughts. If you are unable to decide on a ‘career’ then think about the best possible next step for you.


Decision Making Options

List the pros and cons

Take a piece of paper, divide it in two and write down the advantages and disadvantages of your decision. Then work your way through each of your points and think about how important each one is to you. What seems the best choice on\balance?

Look ahead

Say you’re choosing your GCSE or A Level options and are trying to decide between art and German. Where could either choice lead? Does one choice reduce, maintain or increase the options open to you further down the line?

Start at the end and work backwards

This only really works if you know what where you want to go. So if you have a job in mind, what training or qualifications will you need? If you need a degree, what A-level subjects will you need to get a place on a university course, and in turn will you need any set GCSE subjects at certain grades to take your chosen A-levels?

Consider effort v. results

How much time and energy will you have to put into each option and what is the likely result? Back to art or German – if you’re naturally good at art you may get a good grade without much effort, but if you’re not so gifted at German, you’ll have to put in a lot more work to get the same grade.

Consider the mix

Try not to think about your choice purely in terms of A or B (yes it’s art or German again), but think about what else is going on (such as your other GCSEs or Alevels). Which option is a good fit or welcome break from your other choices?

Remove extremes

List out all your options and strike off those at the top and bottom such as the best and worst; most and least expensive; nearest and furthest. What are you left with?

Find out some more tips about making decision using this BBC BiteSize.


You are here:
Career Planning Making Decisions