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5 Tips for Choosing a Certificate

Follow these suggestions from fellow students to find the best certificate for you!

Education enlarges your vision and capacity to do good. President Russell M. Nelson said, “Education is the difference between wishing you could help other people and being able to help them.” 1
Russell M. Nelson, “Youth of the Noble Birthright: What Will You Choose?” (Church Educational System devotional, Sept. 6, 2013)
Yet, discovering what you want to study can be challenging. The good news is you’re not alone in the process! Several students who successfully found their own certificate share experiences and tips that you can apply to your own certificate search.

Plan ahead

Rachel Rouse
Rachel Rouse

Rachel Rouse knew she wanted to earn a bachelor’s degree in applied health but wasn’t sure which certificate to choose. She said, “When I was signing up for a certificate, it was a little bit of a leap of faith to click the button…. I chose Community Health Planning and Implementation more as an obvious path to my bachelor’s degree rather than me understanding what it could offer me at the early stages of the certificate program.”

Taking time to assess your long-term goals makes choosing what to study easier. For example, do you want to earn a degree, advance your career with new skills, or start your own business? Try this tool if you need help visualizing what steps you need to complete to reach a certain degree. You may not know every detail of your plan right now, and that’s okay.

Fernando Souza Barros
Fernando Souza Barros

Counsel with others

When Fernando Souza Barros was searching for a certificate, he took time to reflect on which one he wanted, but he also reached out to others for advice.

He said, “I counseled with my family and my job colleagues. They helped me choose my course.” He also counseled with the Lord through prayer. Fernando is currently pursuing the Computer Programming certificate .

There are people around you who care and are cheering you on. Reach out and counsel with them about your goals. Discussing your ideas with other people often gives you a better perspective.

Connect the dots

Mary Talabi
Mary Talabi

Mary Talabi loves traveling and has always wanted to own a restaurant. She said, “When I saw the Hospitality and Tourism Management certificate , I saw this as an opportunity for me to go into what I always wanted to do.” Mary connected what she loves to a certificate that would help her learn the skills needed to make her dream a reality.

Connecting the dots between what you learn and what you do will take creativity and, sometimes, stepping outside your comfort zone. One way to connect the dots is by searching for daily opportunities to apply what you learn.

Michelle Haws
Michelle Haws

Anticipate adversity

Soon after Michelle Haws started her introductory course, she realized that particular certificate was not for her. Even though she quickly determined it wasn’t the right fit for her goals, she completed the course and made adjustments to try a new certificate. She said, “I like that I got to try out [my first certificate course] before taking a bunch of prerequisites…. It’s been a challenge, but it helped me figure out what I really want to do…. I can choose a new certificate next semester, and I haven’t wasted a lot of time and energy.” Michelle adjusted her plans and is now pursuing a Basic Accounting certificate .

In pursuing your education, you will face many challenges. Some could be unexpected, like dealing with health issues or financial setbacks. Others are easier to predict, like time management. Regardless of the trial, your Heavenly Father is eager to help.

Partner with the Lord

Melinda Muller
Melinda Muller

Melinda Muller said of her experience, “I went through quite the journey and followed the promptings of the Holy Ghost, which led me to a certificate that I would have never chosen on my own.” Melinda is currently pursuing the Web Frontend certificate .

The best ally you have is the Lord. In a BYU-Pathway Worldwide devotional, Elder D. Todd Christofferson instructed students to “make God your partner in BYU-Pathway.” He has a plan for you, and it’s not a bare-minimum one. It is a premium, hand-crafted plan. Counsel with Him in prayer about your future. His direction may have you take an unexpected route, but He knows what lies ahead and is preparing you for success.

Want to know more? Learn about the benefits of a certificate or check out these frequently asked questions .