Picking the Perfect Major

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Picking the Perfect Major

Picking your major is probably one of the most important decisions that you will make in your younger years because it will have a huge impact on your future career choices when you graduate. However, approximately 20-50 percent of freshmen start their first year in college not knowing what they want to do, which is why we’ve put together these top tips for picking the perfect major:

Think About Your Interests: Whether you’re still in High School and you’re wondering what you want to do with the rest of your life or you’re a parent looking to apply for this scholarship, so that you can improve your career prospects and provide for your family, the first step in choosing your major should be thinking about your interests. After all, most of us would rather do something that we love for the rest of our lives and it is much easier to study and engage with a subject when you genuinely enjoy it.

What Are You Good At? Of course, it also makes a lot of sense to reflect on the things that you’re good at. If you love art, but you really have no aptitude for creating it, you might be better off looking at the skills that you do have, such as a knack for solving math problems or programming computers. That being said, if you truly dream of being an artist, there’s nothing wrong with following your dreams, provided that you know what you are getting yourself into!

Look into Future Career Prospects: This is something that older students tend to be better at, perhaps because they have more life experience, but it is important for students of all ages to think about the courses that they are taking and what kind of jobs it could realistically lead them to. If you want to make lots of money, majoring in a sought after skill such as engineering, law, or medicine will probably serve you better than a degree in communications or art history. But, if you want to work in the media or become the curator of an art gallery, they’ll be great! It’s all about working out what you want, what skills are likely to be sought after in the future, and which major will best help you to get where you want to be after you graduate.

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Take an Introductory Course: If you have a few ideas for a major, but you’re not sure, one of the best ways to work out if a course is going to be the right fit is by taking an introductory course. Most colleges will allow you to try out a major by enrolling in one or more such courses, and many will even give you credit towards your education if you do enroll. This is probably the best way of working out what you do and don’t enjoy and whether you can handle a course or not.

The above tips should help you to work out which major is the perfect fit for you, but if you’re still struggling, make an appointment with an advisor, who will be able to talk you through your options and help you make the right choice for you, whatever that may be.

Featured Image By: Flickr

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4 responses »

  1. Good advice! It is really important to think about career prospects and earning potential, especially if you are going into debt to fund your education, but it’s also true that for many fields there is a lot of flexibility when it comes to holding a specific degree. I think it can be pretty paralyzing for someone who is in their late teens or early 20s to face a decision that will likely determine the course of their entire lives and it really doesn’t need to be quite so frightening I think. I mean, yes, it’s easier if you can determine early what you want to do and follow a straight path toward it, but hope is not lost if you just can’t quite get there yet. Life is long (with luck), and it takes lots of twists and turns.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi! University academic advisor here! I love what you said about following your interests and seeing what you’re good at. Here are some of my pointers:

    1. Major does not equal earning potential or career. Students get really stuck on this idea that to make a lot of money, they need to be within a particular range of majors. But the reality is that most career paths are going to be a product of outside of the classroom work, not what your major says. Yes, if you want to be an engineer, an engineering degree will be valued. But if you want to be a CEO, your major will fall away to being irrelevant. I interview people about their major to career paths and I recently talked to a CEO of a Biotech company who was a Film major. That’s because he focused on design, selling, making the business model, and managing, leaving the tech his CTO. His summers of interning at various companies left him much more prepared for entrepreneurship than any major could have. About 50% of people will end up in a career unrelated to their major, and if you look at career earning 10 years in, English majors and Bio majors make roughly equal salaries, with English majors earning just a little more. What this does mean is that doing work outside the classroom when you’re in undergrad is probably the best thing you can do for yourself.

    2. I’d highlight your point of figuring out what you’re good at, just highlighting that you should find out what you’re good at IN COLLEGE. I meet with a lot of students who are almost flunking out of school pursuing a major, but they’ll insist they’re really good at it. This is because in high school, they were! College is a time to explore and subjects may be taught differently than they were in high school, so pay attention to what your grades are telling you at the level you are in, rather than dwelling too much on the past. High grades will matter if you ultimately want to go to grad school, med school, law school, MBA. While they often won’t matter in career, they can open doors for those first internships to give you that first step of experience.

    3. Lastly, take off the pressure of finding a major right away if your school allows you to. If possible, give yourself some time to explore broadly in your first two years and see what develops. It’s hard to know going into college that Biological Anthropology or Linguistics will be a perfect fit for you if you’ve never had exposure to those subjects before.

    Good luck and most importantly, have some fun with finding a major!

    Liked by 1 person

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