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Should you opt for Arts in college?
Deepti Dadlani
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June 07, 2007

School's been out for awhile now, and summer vacation is almost over. For thousands of youngsters who have just taken their Class X board exams, it's not all movie marathons and picnics anymore. An important decision lies ahead: what should they pursue education-wise -- arts, science or commerce? Though many may have a good idea of what career they want to take up, there are many more who continue to be dogged by indecision.

Although taking such a step, which will dictate the course of your career can be overwhelming, don't fret. Awareness is the first step in taking any decision, and to help you make a more informed choice, here is a brief description of what the Arts faculty has to offer.

Subjects offered

Most Arts colleges offer the following subjects:

While filling in the college application form, you will have to make a choice of four subjects. English (most commonly referred to as 'Communication Skills') and an additional language (Hindi, French etc -- some colleges may offer Marathi or Gujarati) are mandatory for all. In other words, you will have a total of six subjects.

All colleges have a pre-determined set of combinations. If a college isn't offering the combination of subjects you want, you can always look to another one. The best way to take a decision is to do your research. You can personally visit each of the colleges and obtain a prospectus, or simply visit the college website to learn the courses they offer and the subject combinations.


While contemplating opting for Arts, here are some factors you should consider:

~ Interest: If you are someone who loves languages, history, politics and human behaviour, then this is the right field for you. You should have a strong interest and inclination towards the humanities to take up Arts. The Arts stream is no longer just for those who score less than or just about a Class I grade.

~ Aptitude and vocational guidance: Aptitude refers to your natural ability, which can be further heightened with any sort of training. The best way to identify your aptitude is to seek vocational guidance and take an aptitude test. A number of schools now offer aptitude tests and vocational guidance to Class IX and X students, but in case your school doesn't offer them, you can always visit a vocational guidance centre. An aptitude for languages, writing, social service etc means Arts is the right stream for you.

~ Class X performance: Like in any other stream, there is a set of top colleges in every city for Arts. Gaining admission into these would require a higher percentage in comparison to the rest. Most top Arts colleges require a solid 75 percent in the Class X board exams.

However, a college's closing percentages might rise or dip depending on city students' average performance. Make note that all colleges release more than two lists of accepted students, so if you don't make it to the first list, don't be disheartened. A first class should ensure admission into the Arts stream in most colleges.

~ Peer and parental input: As soon as you enter Class X, parents and concerned family members will offer advice on what career path to choose, and you would do well to pay heed. However, most parents are still under the misconception that the Arts stream is a field that has no value in the real world, or simply that it is a field not suited to young men.

Parents have been quoted as saying, "I don't think my child will be able to fend for a family, or for that matter get a decent position in a company, if he pursues Arts." But things are gradually changing, with colleges seeing a considerable rise in students seeking admission into the Arts stream, including boys. So base your decision not only on your parents' advice, but also on your interests and aptitude.

Another important factor that might influence your decision is where your friends are planning on taking admission. It's true that friends are important, and that it would be fun to enter this phase of your life along with them, but ignoring your interests and aptitude for the sake of the company you keep would be a mistake. This new phase of life may bring with it some anxiety, but bear in mind that it is temporary; making new friends and opening yourself up to new experiences is what makes it fun.

Career options

Today, most students are looking to do an MBA after college, and a large number refrain from opting for the Arts stream under the assumption that it excludes them from the possibility of pursuing a career in management. However, this is a misconception. Many students who have graduated with a degree in Arts go on to earn a post-graduate degree in management, law and even fashion designing. So, opting for Arts does not limit or close your options, but rather opens up a window for many interesting new opportunities.

Some of the career options you can pursue after you earn your BA degree are listed below:

~ Psychologist, counsellor
Economist, markets analyst
Sociologist, social worker
Historian, anthropologist
Human resources, personnel executive
Writer, editor
School teacher, college professor

Now that you have all the relevant information on the Arts stream, make sure you take a wise decision, one based on research and devoid of any pressure. Your choice will play a big role in determining your career, so weigh your options well!

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