How Important Is Your College Major
The major you choose will neither predict nor guarantee your future. Many graduates find jobs that have nothing to do with what they studied in college. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average twenty-something switches jobs once every three years and the average person changes career fields two or three times in their lifetime.
If you intend to earn a professional degree after college, you will probably need certain courses, or prerequisites, under your belt. But many future doctors major in non-science related fields.
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Talk To Advisers And Professionals
The best source of college advice is your school counselor. Theyve helped lots of students who are making the same decisions you are. Your school counselor can tell you more about college majors and program offerings. Here are five questions you might want to ask a counselor.
Check out BigFuture for a list of 20 questions to ask your counselor to get the conversation started.
You can also reach out to professionals working in the field youre interested in. They can talk to you about how they got from college to where they are now. Whether theyre your parents, guardians, family members, or people you interact with professionally, set up a time to interview them. Be prepared with a set of questions to ask.
Remember To Trust Your Instincts
While its important to weigh several factors before choosing a college major, ultimately, its your decision. Trust your instincts to help guide you. Its important to remember that a bachelors degree is a stepping-stone toward your personal and professional goalsnot the final destination. That said, the clearer you are on what you want to do following graduation, the easier it will be to find a program that aligns with your goals.
Start thinking about your options early, stay organized, and reach out to experts for support. In the end, only you can decide which degree program will work best for you. No matter what major you choose, with commitment, resilience, and hard work, you can find success
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What Are You Passionate About
If money were our only consideration, wed all become investment bankers, corporate CEOs, or famous actors. However, lets face it were not all satisfied with these kinds of careers. To decide what course of study to pursue, its important first to ask ourselves what were good at and what makes us feel really enthusiastic.
Identifying our passions, values, abilities, and interests is the first step in setting out on a rewarding career. Youve probably already gotten some idea of your talents and interests from the classes you did well in at high school.
For example, have you followed politics for as long as you can remember? How might this interest combine with your values? If you are deeply concerned with social justice, you might work with an NGO or become a journalist.
A large part of what guides our passions is what sort of personality we have. There are many tools that can help you decide on the best college major for your distinct style of thinking.
One of the most popular is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a personality assessment test that divides people into 16 psychological types. Whether you are introverted or extroverted, thinking or feeling, prefer decision-making or gathering information can be key in your choice of major, minor, and future career. As an Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceptive , I can attest that most of what the Myers-Briggs says about skills, deepest motivations, and future career success is quite accurate.
Can You Change Your Major
You can absolutely change your major in college.Studies find that most students change majors at least once and many students switch several times. No matter what year youre in, sometimes the major you declare doesnt end up being the right one. If you decide to change your major, make sure the credits you need align with your expected graduation date. Go to your counselor for guidance on picking a new major and setting up your schedule.
Its a big decision, but you know yourself and your interests better than anyone. Remember, when choosing a major, the most important thing is to make sure youre happy and clear about your priorities for your life and career after college.
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Creating Your Own Major
Some schools allow you to design your own major. At most schools that allow this, you need to have a pretty specific, cohesive plan about what that major will be. So you can’t just use this option to avoid actually selecting a course of study. On the contrary, this option is the best for people who have a very clear idea of what they want to study and want to closely home in on a topic. I knew people who designed their own majors in things like global migration and climate change. These are very particular topics that lend themselves to a create-your-own major situation.
Some schools do allow you to major in something very vague like “liberal arts” or “humanities.” These courses of study often have few requirements and offer lots of flexibility in coursework. While this may be appealing, you do run somewhat of a risk of seeming like an aimless dilettante .
Daphne wants to major in the interpretation of oracles.
Examples Of The Best Answers
Here are some of the best answers to questions about why you chose your college major.
I chose to be a nutritionist because I have always felt that poor eating habits came from poor knowledge. I wanted to help people get healthy by teaching them about food, not telling them what they can and cannot eat. As an exercise science/nutrition major, I became an expert on getting and staying healthy, and I cannot wait to work with clients. I’m looking forward to putting my excellent interpersonal skills and communication abilities to work, in addition to all that I’ve learned from my courses.
Why It Works: This answer shows how related the candidate’s major is to the job at hand. Plus, the candidate does a nice job on mentioning his or her key skills.
I decided to get my degree in elementary education because teaching was something that has always come naturally to me. I have always enjoyed spending time with children, and when I am in the classroom I do not feel like I am working because I love being there! I feel that my effective listening and patience really help me connect with kids.
Why It Works: This answer makes it clear that the candidate’s major is an extension of long-term interests and abilities.
Why It Works: The candidate does a nice job here of tying the major to practical skills. Note that this response also makes it clear the candidate is comfortable with many forms of writing.
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Will An Online Degree Offer The Same Quality
Students should explore all available study options to ensure they choose the one best suited to their goals. That means looking into private and public schools, two- and four-year schools and programs, and online schools and programs, which often offer the same quality training in a more flexible and accessible package.
Online programs can also allow learners to expand their school search and improve their chances of finding their ideal program, because they don’t have to be physically present on campus.
Talk To Students Who Have Chosen The College Majors Youre Considering
You can spend as much time as you want looking up different college majors and researching them ad nauseam. But you wont really know what a major entails until you speak with someone who has chosen that major and gone through everything associated with it.
If possible, touch base with several college students who have chosen the college majors youre considering. They can shed some much-needed light on what goes into studying a particular major and give valuable insight into what its like to pick a certain major.
They can also give you some pointers on what youre going to need to do to survive your first year of school. To see what they might say, read on here.
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How Rigorous Will The Coursework Be
Some majors may feel harder than others based on factors like typical homework load, course expectations, and frequency of exams. Your core classes will make up a significant portion of your college course load. So, before you declare a major, make sure you understand how rigorous your weekly workload will be.
Indiana University Bloomington’s National Survey of Student Engagement, carried out in 2016, determined the most difficult majors based on the average time students spent per week preparing for classes. The hardest majors included architecture, chemical engineering, and aeronautical engineering.
Easier majors, which typically required less prep time, included fields like criminal justice, communication, and public relations.
When Do You Declare A Major
Colleges will likely ask you to declare your intended major on your college application. But dont panic! Most colleges have the option of allowing you to be an undeclared major, letting you take classes for a year or two until you have decided what course of study you want to commit to.
If you decide to change your major at some point after youve declared it, its most often an easy, painless process. In fact, at some schools, a majority of students change their majors during their academic careers. Some of us, myself included, change our majors more than once. In most cases, this has a minimal effect on the length of time required to complete your studies.
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What If You Cant Decide On A Major
Its okay to enter college as an undecided major. You dont have to know what you want to major in during your major search process. College gives you the opportunity to take classes you think you might enjoy or even classes youve never been exposed to before.
Volunteer and find internships. Internships and volunteer work are the best ways to get real hands-on experience in fields a major can lead to. Youll get a great understanding of what day-to-day life in the profession is like. If you can, talk to people in different departments to see if their work interests you.
Events at local colleges/college visits. You can learn a lot from visiting colleges or attending events on campus. Colleges have open houses or accepted student days where department representatives answer questions and offer you their knowledge. There are also students around you can talk to about their major and class experiences in the major.
Research Your Personality Type
After completing your personality test and receiving your results, research your personality. Researching your personality type can help you better understand yourself and the college majors you might enjoy. Your personality type can tell you what situations you may handle best, what your likes and dislikes could be and what strengths and weaknesses you may have. It’s important to remember that while a personality test gives you insight into yourself, it’s only a tool that can offer guidance and suggestions. You might not identify with everything that it says about you.
Learning How To Choose A College Major Is So Important
There are so many young people who pick out a college and start going to school without learning how to choose a college major first. This often backfires on them in the end when they decide that they want to change their major and then have to transfer to a new school to do it.
Think about which subject you want to major in when you go to college before selecting a school. Itll get your college experience off to the right start and set you up for future success.
Want to find out more about how to make the most of higher education? Check out the other informative articles about education that we have available for you.
Do Earnings Matter To You
Theres plenty of information out there on earning potential and salaries for working professionals across industries. BLS and PayScale, to name two, can help you do some quick research on common salary ranges by career and location. If youre looking to make some serious money after you graduate, your best course of action is to select a degree and career path that typically comes with a big salary.
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What Major Should I Choose Help Me
I imagine that if you are reading this article, you are feeling some level of uncertainty or anxiety about choosing a college major. This is completely understandable. As parents, teachers, and counselors have no doubt hammered into you, choosing a major in college is an important decision. It’s one of the first big independent decisions of your academic and professional life. In many ways, choosing a major functions as a rite of passage in the process of becoming an adult.
Some people know what to major in in college before they even start high school. However, most people don’t, so if you have no idea how to choose a college major, don’t panic.
With that said, neither I nor anyone else can tell you what major to choose. And if you do let someone else choose for you , you’re likely to be miserable. The truth is that the process of thoughtfully selecting the best major for you takes workwork that you need to put in yourself.
While I can’t do that work for you, I can tell you the foundational principles of investigating and ultimately picking a college major.
Or just major in kitty cuddling and call it a day.
What Classes Are Included With The Major
When choosing a program, consider whether it offers classes in the areas you need most for your desired profession or where you need the most improvement. Choosing a program that offers courses that complement your existing skill set will help you make the most out of your degree. For example, aspiring graphic designers might want to ensure their potential art programs include coding classes, as graphic design careers often require computer literacy.
Choosing programs with the most useful classes pays off in the long run, though you should also look for intriguing classes that will keep your training interesting and absorbing.
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Should I Choose A Minor Too
Choosing a minor isn’t as stressful as choosing a major because there isn’t as much pressure, but it can still have a significant impact on your education. A minor can complement or fine-tune a student’s focus, or it can help them flesh out their education with a topic of interest. However, a minor can also add time and increase costs, so learners should carefully consider how a minor affects their education timeline.
The Most Important Task For Picking A Major
The most important task for choosing a major in college is Too much of the advice out there on how to pick a major assumes you have particular goals or tells you what your priorities should be.
Even your own parents may be focused on particular priorities and goals that don’t match up with yours. Family conflict around major choice is a common issue. This may be especially salient for you if your parents are paying for part of your education.
It is reasonable to listen to your parents’ concerns and advice. However, it’s important to remember that it’s ultimately your major. You will have to do the work and ultimately leverage that major as you transition into the workforce. If you are studying something you are not really interested in, you may not be very motivated to succeed . So you need to ask, “Which college major is right for me?”
Here’s some advice on discussing any change in your major plans with your parents. If your parents are paying for your education and they want input into your plans, you can also consider compromises like majors that are agreeable to both of you, double majors, or minors.
These factors will guide you towards the answer to the question “What college major is right for me?”
Here are some factors you will probably want to consider when you go about choosing a major:
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Who Can Help You
But Nina advises against placing too much emphasis on the opinions of others. He warns of the risk of identity foreclosure, a stage in development when adolescents think they have an identity without really exploring their options, many times just adopting the identity of family or friends.
They havent yet developed their own identity, Nina said. So theyre just blindly accepting what their parents say they should be.
Look to the experts in your life counselors, teachers, and role models who can provide unbiased insight.
Here are a couple things students can do to try and answer, Who can help you?:
- Talk about options with a school counselor. School counselors are trained to help students think through these decisions. Talk about different career paths to figure out what will be the best fit.
- Participate in informational interviews. Reach out to people with similar jobs and ask what they studied, why they chose that path, and any advice they have.
The key here is they have to feel confident they will make a choice once they know themselves and what theyre interested in, Nina added.