Monday, July 15, 2024

How Do You Know What To Major In College

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DONâT KNOW WHAT TO STUDY? // How to Choose Your Major in College

Research is important when choosing a major, but so is self-reflection. Shakespeare said, To thine own self be true, and this is great advice for selecting the right college major.

You need to spend time considering what your skills are, what makes you happy, and what you enjoy doing.

  • Career research is a good idea, but you should also spend time picturing yourself in various careers.
  • What would be fulfilling work? Where would you be happy? Would you be competent at a specific job, or would it be overwhelming?

Spend some time reflecting on your interests and passions.

Considerations like salary and job prospects are necessary, but you dont to pursue something that isnt a good fit for your unique skills and passions.

How Does Your College Experience Help You Stand Out

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , over 80% of workers require on-the-job training, with a median training time of 14 days. But learners can gain the same kind of training and experience through previous employment and internships.

Having work or field experience gives students a powerful competitive advantage when seeking employment. To employers, candidates with both a formal education and a relevant professional background stand out, demonstrating commitment to the discipline. Experience can also cut back on the need for future training and its associated costs and challenges.

What Is The Difference Between A Major And A Minor

Majors are primary fields of study, and minors are secondary concentrations that may or may not be related to your major. Although the two can be similar, they do not need to be.

Plenty of people choose a minor later on in their academic career. This minor can be based upon an area of interest that they discovered, or a way to complement their existing major and possibly make them more attractive in the workplace.

Although you wont get a degree for your minor, it may still be helpful to have one on your record because it shows that you were willing to put in the work to learn multiple concentrations and that you may have range and focus as a person.

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Minors And Double Majors

If one field of study doesn’t satisfy your intellectual appetite, consider a minor. A minor is similar to a major in that it’s an area of academic concentration. The only difference is that a minor does not require as many classes.

Some undergrads with a love of learning and an appetite for punishment choose to pursue two majors, often in totally different subjects. A double major provides you with an understanding of two academic fields. It allows you to become familiar with two sets of values, views and vocabularies. That said, it also requires you to fulfill two sets of requirements and take twice as many required classes. You won’t have as many opportunities to experiment or take classes outside those two fields.

While a minor or a double major might make you more marketable, both professionally and for graduate study, both are timeand energyintensive. Most students find that one major is more than enough. Need help? Browse majors and learn more about them with our college majors search tool . Plus: Here’s our list of Top 10 College Majors based on research covering job prospects, alumni salaries, and popularity.

Be Realistic About Downsides

What to do if you have no college major in mind?

Every major does have some downsides, and it’s important to be realistic about the negative things about any potential major. Here are some things to consider:

  • How large are most classes? If you have a preference for small courses but you’ll be required to take many large lectures, it may be hard for you to get the most out of that course of study.
  • How robust is advising support? Are advisors accessible and receptive, or hard to reach?
  • How is job placement for the department? Is there adequate support for students trying to find jobs or go to graduate school?
  • How prestigious is the program? At some universities, there’s lots of variation between departments in prestige.

You can most likely get lots of this information by talking to current and former students of a given department. You can also do your own research into things like program prestige and job placement.

Downsides certainly don’t have to be deal-breakersthey are just things to be mindful of as you go about choosing a major in college. After all, no major is all upside.

Lots of early classes in your department? You may need to hit the coffee hard.

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What Major Fits Your Personality

  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

Enterprising people are go-getters. They like to come up with new ideas and start new things. They are very competitive and highly enterprising. They may be very persuasive talkers and they may be overly aggressive when trying to get their way. Persistence often pays off for enterprising people.

Enterprising people like to make money and have nice things. They are often popular, sometimes demanding, and usually motivating. They can argue and debate well.

Possible degree programs:

Artistic people are intuitive and often know what others are up to. They don’t have dozens of friends, but they have a few very close friends. They don’t like to work in very restrictive environments. Instead, they prefer to hear about new ideas and try out new things.

Possible degree programs:

  • Journalism
  • Graphic design

Artistic personality types are most comfortable in an environment where they have the ability to hibernate and create. Any environment that requires monotonous, repetitive, unvarying activity day after day would be a bad fit for the artistic type.

Additionally, any environment that restricts movement or involves close supervision would be a poor fit.

Social people make great teachers! They are great with people because they are open and friendly, and they care about others. They are cooperative, which makes them good in many programs and careers.

  • Psychology
  • Archivist

Find A College That Meets Multiple Interests

If youâre interested in several different disciplines, look for colleges that offer good programs for some or all of the options youâre considering. That way, if you switch your major to another alternative, youâll still receive a quality education without needing to transfer schools.

For example, if youâre interested in studying Spanish and marketing, look for a school with a good language and business program. You may have to pick a school thatâs less renowned in one area to find a school that has decent programs in both fields youâre interested in.

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When Picking A College Or Major Is Binding

If it’s easy to switch between schools once you enroll as a student, then don’t worry too much about the choice you make senior year. Just pick the college that is closest to your current interests. For example, at Cornell internal transfers are generally easy, but requirements vary depending on the college.

If it’s hard to make an internal transfer, however, you’ll need to think carefully and make sure you are choosing the right school before you apply.

For example, at Boston College, transfers into some divisions are harder than others. If you decide as an undergraduate to go into the Management College or Nursing School, it’s hard to get in. As a general rule, if a college has a very specific field of study and that particular college had extra requirements for undergraduate admission, internally transferring will be harder.

Final Tip: Apply To Non

How to Choose a College Major | Advice from a UCLA Grad

As a final piece of advice, make sure at least a few of the colleges you apply to do not bind you to a major or undergraduate division before you get to campus. Your goal is to have as many options as possible once you get to April of your senior year.

One way to do this is to apply to liberal arts schools. If you really have no idea what you want to study, liberal arts colleges can be good choices, as they encourage students to take a wide variety of classes and don’t expect you to enter knowing exactly what you want to study.

Many universities also just accept general undergraduate applicants. Make sure as you compile your list of colleges that you do your research and see where they stand on binding versus non-binding school/major choices.

To sum up, apply to a wide range of colleges and universities so you’re not stuck choosing between being a chemistry major at one school and an art major at another come April your senior year!

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What Happens When You Change Your Major

The specific steps that youll need to complete when changing majors will depend on your program and institution. Ultimately, you will submit the necessary paperwork with help from a staff member or academic advisor and begin taking courses that count toward your new major. This switch in coursework usually takes place right at the beginning of a semester, during a school-wide add/drop period or at the end of a semester.

When To Choose A Major

At most four-year colleges, and in the case of many majors, you wont have to pick a major until the end of your sophomore year. This gives you plenty of time to check out various subjects and see which ones interest you. Some majors like areas of engineering are exceptions to this rule. You have to commit to these fields of study early so you have time to take all the required courses.

If you’re earning a two-year degree, you’ll probably select a major at the start because the program is much shorter.

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What Are Your Skills

Prospective enrollees should evaluate their own abilities alongside the skills required in their ideal careers and educational programs. By observing the typical job requirements of possible careers, learners can assess whether a potential career matches their own strengths. They can also identify what skills they still need to develop over time.

Is Your Major Adaptable

College vs. University: What

Choosing an adaptable major helps accommodate the potential for future career changes. For example, a major in communications can lead to careers in publishing, journalism, marketing, public relations, and sales, whereas a literature degree might offer a more limited pathway.

Students can also improve their major’s adaptability through concentrations, research projects, electives, and internships. Diversifying your resume while in college can open a lot of career doors after graduation.

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Dont Choose A Major For The Wrong Reasons

Along the same lines, make sure you dont choose a major for the wrong reasons.

Some students decide to be a doctor or lawyer just because it sounds good or prestigious, or because it suggests a wealthy future.

These students may then discover that they have no talent for or no interest in these professions.

  • This results in a costly or time-consuming change in major.
  • Or, if the student sticks with this career path despite reservations, this may result in an unsatisfying and stressful career.

As you start leaning toward certain majors, ask yourself why this decision appeals to you.

Make sure that this is something that you actually want to do and also have the ability to do well.

Take Time To Explore Options

Of course, its not necessary for you to know your major on Day 1 of college. Its a good idea to have a few areas of interest in mind, but if you arent ready to make the decision yet, theres no need to rush.

  • In fact, taking the time to carefully explore options could save you time and money associated with making the wrong decision and ultimately changing majors.

For the first two years of college, you will mostly be taking General Education courses.

  • These are basic requirements in English, mathematics, history, science, and sociology, and theyre designed to develop well-rounded college students.

This will give you the opportunity to see which college-level classes you excel in and enjoy.

Most colleges wont require you to declare a major until sophomore year.

  • If you truly cant decide, pick a few areas of interest and enroll in related Gen Ed courses. You can use these courses as a trial run, helping you decide which major is truly the right fit.

However, if you are considering attending medical school or have an interest in fields like nursing, physical therapy, or engineering, declaring a major as soon as possible is best.

Early planning is required for the specific, in-depth skill requirements of these areas of study.

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Take Coursework Relevant To Business Careers

Regardless of your major, take a few business basics. Courses like Accounting, Marketing, Speech, and Intro to Computer Science can help you pursue a career in business or technology. New graduates often add relevant coursework to resumes, especially when their major isnt immediately applicable to certain entry-level jobs.

Double Majors And Minors

how to pick a college major | tips & advice

Are you torn between two pretty different fields? Double majoring may be the answer. If you’re interested in investigating this possibility, here are some things to find out:

  • Do you have to integrate the majors in any way? Some schools that allow double majoring require students to integrate the two courses of study in some way, often through a thesis or other project. If you are really interested in both majors, you may consider this a feature, not a bug. Of course, some majors may be harder to integrate than others: Religion and history? Great! Math and English? More of a stretch.
  • Can you waive or double-dip on requirements? Can you count classes towards both majors? Depending on how different the majors are, this might be difficult anyways, but it’s worth finding out. Also, sometimes departments will let you waive some requirements if you are a double-major . That makes double-majoring less difficult.
  • Can you make the schedule work? Because of the increased burden of requirements, you’ll need to pay close attention to your schedule. You’ll also need to do a lot of advance planning to make sure that you can actually fit in all of your requirements for both majors. It’s not uncommon for people who double-major to spend an extra semester on campus to finish everything up. So if spending an extra semester of tuition is a concern, it’s extra-important to make sure you can fit in everything in time.

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What Are You Good At

Understanding your natural skills and talents can go a long way in helping you make an informed and confident decision when choosing a major.

It may be your parents’ dream for you to be an artist, but what if you skew more toward business or science? Just because someone else has a degree path in mind doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

One way to determine which academic fields best suit you is to take a close look at your high school grades and your ACT or SAT scores. Doing this can highlight your strengths in specific academic areas.

Talk To Your Guidance Counselor

If youre still not sure about what paths would be best for you or its too late to sign up for college courses for your senior year, it may be time to talk to your guidance counselor. After all, thats what theyre there for! They can help with the entire college process, including helping you decide on an intended major.

They will go over your strengths, weaknesses, and interests with you to try to find common ground. Their advice and suggestions may open paths that you hadnt thought of previously. If a particular career or major interests you, ask them for more information and then get to work researching when you get home.

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Insight From An Academic Consulting Expert

Victoria Turner

Victoria Turner is the founder and president of Turner Educational Advising, LLC, an educational consulting firm specializing in college and law school admissions and professional development. She served as the Senior Manager of Pre-Law and Professional Development Programs at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, for almost a decade. She is also a member of the Higher Education Consultants Association, the Potomac & Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling, and the Independent Educational Consultants Association.

Q. In your experience, what are some of the challenges that students face when theyre on the fence about choosing a major?

A. First, I think its very hard for people of a young age to know with certainty what they want to do with their lives. The data suggests that people will change jobs 12 times and change careers five to seven times during their lifetime. In addition, a recent study by McKinsey & Company suggests that by 2030, robots will have replaced as many as 800 million workers worldwide! That could mean that up to one-third of Americas workforce might need to learn new skills and find new work. Considering this, the decision to choose a major might seem daunting, but it neednt be.

Q. What are some trusted resources that youve had college students use to prepare themselves to choose a major?

Q. What about high school students who are trying to choose a major? What advice do you offer them?

Is A Minor A Degree

Pin by Ashley Taylor on What I Really Do

A minor is not a degree. Its a concentration that you get in addition to your primary field of study, known as your major.

Although minors can often round out your degree and provide depth and context to your education, they are not considered to be stand-alone degrees or certifications. Your minor should be noted on your transcripts and may or may not appear on your diploma itself.

Although minors are not degrees, they can still be valuable.

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