Computer says no

Critic, 1 March 2010

by Gregor Whyte

For when you realise that all 1800 of you aren’t going to get into Med ...

For all those students who know they want to be at university, but aren’t quite sure what they should be studying, comes an innovative and award-winning piece of software developed at the University of Otago. Otago Choice asks users to answer questions on their interests and then ranks the 105 major subjects offered at Otago according to how closely they accord with those identified interests.

The software was inspired, says creator Associate Professor Paul Hansen, by a survey of Otago graduate that found 41 percent would have chosen a different degree or major if given the opportunity to ‘re-do’ their time at university. Hansen recommends the software to all students at the University, but adds that it will be particularly useful for those who wish to study a subject tailored to “their own personal preferences” especially given “you can't get the three or four years back, or the fees.”

The software has been used over 45,000 times since its launch in July 2008, and has received positive feedback from surveyed users. A neat feature of the site is that it provides instant information on the ranked subjects. The software was completely updated at the end of 2009 and is easily accessible from the University homepage. Alternatively there is a link on Critic’s Facebook page.

So, now you can't complain you’ve got no idea what to do with your life after that Med School rejection letter.