What Are Your Career Goals
After digging into what youre interested in and potential careers options, its time to think about your goals and your future careerand how easy or how hard it might be to find employment.
If you have a specific career goal in mind, you might need to pick your major or program in advance, sometimes as early as when youre applying to college.
Its also good to know what degree youll need for the field that interests you. Heres an overview of different college degrees:
How To Pick A College Major
Aside from deciding which school youll attend, choosing your college major is well a major decision. Science. Social justice. Ministry. Nursing. Underwater basket weaving . The list of career choices is virtually endless and ever-expanding. Maybe youre among the decisive ones who knew as a 5-year-old that youre destined to be a doctor. Thats amazing and valid. Or maybe youre 100 percent clueless when it comes to selecting your future field. Dont worry. Youll find your path. Promise. Most likely, youre somewhere in the middle. You have some rough ideas but are looking for more guidance. Welcome! Youve landed on the perfect page. Below youll find the ultimate guide to choosing your college major, including a list of ideas to consider and resources to explore. But first, you must know that selecting your major isnt an exact science. Theres really no right or wrong approach. Rather, this guide exists to spark your imagination and get your brainstorming juices flowing like milk and honey.
Make Your Schedule Multi
Many students spend their first semesters fulfilling some of their general education requirements. If you can, try to use those requirements to explore academic areas you may be interested in. If you have flexibility in the classes you can take to fulfill requirements, try to take ones taught by professors in departments you are interested in. Classes with a multidisciplinary focus are great for this, too. When I was a freshman I took a combination gender studies and English class about romance literature, and another combination East Asian studies and religion class about Buddhism. Both of these multidisciplinary courses helped me refine my interestsefficiently.
Even if you don’t have much control over your general requirements, try to view your requirements as an opportunity to explore academic areas you haven’t examined before instead of just something to slog through. This will help you narrow possibilities when choosing a college major.
Simon’s class in botanical illustration let him explore his interests in art and biology at the same time!
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What Do You Like
The first thing to consider when picking a major is what you like to do. By the time you graduate high school youll have enough information and experience from your classes to figure out what you might or might not be interested in pursuing. Here are some ways you can dig deeper:
- List 10 things you love. Listing what you love doing, both inside or outside the classroom, is a great way to see possible paths you can take. If you enjoy art and drawing but youre also interested in technology, consider majoring in graphic design. If youre into business and traveling, investigate majoring in international business.
- Make a list of strengths and weaknesses. Figuring out your strengths and weaknesses can help you assess what kind of major to go into. For example, if public speaking isnt really your thing, you might want to avoid majors that could lead to careers like being a news anchor or spokesperson. You can also take your weaknesses and build on them in college. If public speaking is something you want to improve, go ahead and take a speech class. You might love it!
- Use the Roadmap to Careers Connect your interests to majors and careers, and explore video interviews with professionals in different industries to hear how they got where they are today. Use your College Board login to map your futureits free for students who take the PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10, PSAT/NMSQT, or the SAT.
What Is The Earning Potential Of Your Interest
Don’t disregard factors like salary potential or job opportunity, as they will affect your future, but weight them against your desire and commitment to pursue your passion. Choosing one of the top ten highest paying college majors may seem like a good idea, but it is not your only option for paying the bills. It is also possible to channel your passions into paths that might in the end be more successful. If you aren’t so committed to painting or a band that you are willing to regularly bypass your evening meal, consider finding another outlet for your creativity. Writing or teaching majors can offer an individual with a natural artistic ability a chance to use his talents without committing himself to a life littered with unpaid bills and skipped meals.
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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.
Myth : Its Important To Choose A Major Early
Why settle on a field of study before experiencing the smorgasbord college has to offer, be it study abroad, a club activity or a surprising elective?
Of students who said they felt committed to their major when they arrived on campus, 20 percent had selected a new major by the end of their first year, according to a national survey by the University of California, Los Angeles.
Changing majors can cost you a semester or two, especially if you switch to one unrelated to your first choice. To reduce that risk, several schools, including Arizona State University, Georgia State University and Lehman College in the Bronx, have created meta-majors, which group majors under a larger academic umbrella.
We have moved away from trying to get students to choose their majors as they enter, said Timothy Renick, Georgia States vice provost and vice president for enrollment management and student success.
Instead, all incoming students choose from one of seven meta-majors, representing large academic and work force fields, such as business, education and STEM. First semester, students gather in learning communities and register for a block of general-education courses within that meta-major. Programming is designed so that students get to know the differences between majors within the field.
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How To Choose A College Major College Ave
Get key information about how to choose a college major. Learn important ways to help you decide what you should study in college.
Asked why 26% said they would study something they are more passionate about while 25% said they would choose a major to get better job opportunities. This is followed by concerns with compensation , desire to learn newer skills , dissatisfaction with their current career , and other .
- How Does Choosing Your College Major Affect Your Future?
- When Do You Need to Declare a Major?
- Changing Majors May Have Financial Consequences
- How to Choose a College Major
- Whats the Importance of Choosing the Right Major?
Its important to think beyond your undergraduate degree when youre declaring your major. If you think theres any chance you may have plans to return to college for a professional degree, youll need to plan accordingly when declaring your undergraduate major, depending on what sort of professional degree youd like to pursue. For example, if you think you might want to go to medical school, one day, your undergraduate major will likely need to be biology, or something related. If your undergraduate degree is completely different than what you want to pursue years later, you may need to return to school just to take a specific course before you can move ahead.
The Danger Lurking Ahead
My high school experience felt designed to prepare me for college. Actually, it was narrower than that: My experience felt designed to prepare me for college applications. I was encouraged to take classes that would fulfill admissions requirements, get grades that would reflect well upon me, and optimize my choice of clubs/activities towards the presumed preferences of college admission committees. Day by day and year by year, the system incentivized me to focus on preparing to apply for college rather than focus on learning. And so I spent my adolescent years letting my path be guided by the system. Except for the few nonconformists, my peers did the same.
Looking back now, its clear to me: We sold out. We ignored our interests and our childhood fascinations, all because the educational system told us that we needed to learn advanced mathematics and the grammatical structures of a foreign language. Unfortunately, calculus and the Spanish conjugations of the subjunctive wont prove to be useful skills for most of us they were a waste of time that could have been better spent learning things we were actually interested in. We dedicated ourselves to the subjects adults told us were important for our future success, and we let the stacks of college acceptance/rejection letters serve as the measure whether we had achieved that success.
So, thats the situation youre facing. Over the course of this sequence, Ill try to help you figure out what to do about it.
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Myth : Choice Of Major Matters More Than Choice Of College
Not so. In seven states Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington students can search public databases for early earnings of graduates of institutions within the state. And those databases show that students who graduate from more selective schools tend to make more money. After all, the better the college, the better the professional network opportunities, through alumni, parents of classmates and eventually classmates themselves.
These undergraduates are more able to pursue majors in lower paying fields because their networks help them land good jobs. Arts, humanities and social science majors are more prevalent on elite campuses than at second-tier colleges, where students tend to pick vocational majors like business, education and health. In all, more than half of students at less selective schools major in career-focused subjects at elite schools, less than a quarter do, according to an analysis by the website FiveThirtyEight of the 78 most selective schools in Barrons rankings, compared with 1,800 less selective schools.
Students at selective colleges are allowed to explore their intellectual curiosity as undergraduates because they will get their job training in graduate school or have access to a network that gets them top jobs, regardless of their undergraduate major, Dr. Carnevale said.
What Patterns Do You See
Look back at your answers to the last four questions. What are some patterns that arise? Start big! Are there any large areas of interest that arise? Does pouring into the next generation strike a passion point? Are you interested in the human psyche? Do you find the hard data and crunching the numbers intriguing? Are there any broad academic departments that you see yourself falling into? If so, youre halfway there!!
Now that youve done some baseline brainstorming, the next step for those of you asking about how to decide on a major is to check out Grace Colleges comprehensive list of majors divided intentionally to help you discover new and unique majors you didnt even know existed!
So, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Were not suggesting that you now have a comprehensive answer, BUT now when people ask the long-begrudged question, you have a place to start. Tell them what you discovered in these exercises. Tell them about your passions and your gifts, and let your community speak into your life and your future! You never know who God might use to guide you along the way!
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Is Your Major Locale
Students need to consider many things when choosing a major, and location is an important but often overlooked factor. Many industries and professions are more prominent in certain locations. For example, cities and metropolitan centers typically have a variety of technology careers, while rural areas have fewer opportunities in those areas.
Location can also affect wages and employment requirements. Big cities usually offer higher wages than rural areas do. Those who wish to live in small towns should keep this in mind.
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 the sciences? Just because someone else has a degree path in mind doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
One way of determining which academic fields best suit you is to take a close look at your class grades in high school, as well as your ACT or SAT scores. Doing this can highlight your strengths in specific academic areas.
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Choose An Academic Area First
A list of 200 possibilities can feel overwhelming. Many of today’s majors didn’t exist in the 1970s and ’80s. Whether your child ultimately ends up in astronautics , informatics or viticulture , start by looking at broad areas of interest. Are they an art type or a science student? Choose a broad category first, then delve into the specifics and help them narrow the list.
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.
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Common Questions About The Counseling Center
How can my child get an appointment?At this time, we are seeing students through Drop-In Hours. Students can come in-person to the Counseling Center in Gosiger Hall, Monday – Friday, 10 AM – 2:30 PM to meet with a mental health professional. This may be a one-time session or a discussion about linking to ongoing services, depending on what your student requests or needs.
I’m worried about my student and want them to go to the Counseling Center. How can I help them?Explain your concerns directly and gently. It helps if you can cite specific examples about why you are concerned. Indicate that you would like them to go to the Counseling Center for Drop-In Hours, and let them know we are located in Gosiger Hall and available Monday – Friday, 10 AM – 2:30 PM . You can ask them to try it out, and that there is very little risk in talking with someone. If they are hesitant to come to the Counseling Center, we also have Let’s Talk appointments that take place over Zoom or in spaces around campus. They can go to our website to sign up online for one of these informal consultation appointments.
What if I just want confirmation that my student is attending appointments, but I don’t want to know what is being discussed?Legally, a release of information needs to be signed to allow us to confirm appointment attendance, even if we do not discuss appointment details.
What does confidentiality mean for parents?
How To Choose A College Major That Suits Your Long
Most people go to college with the idea that theyll easily decide on their major, graduate within four years, and head right into a career that lasts the rest of their lives.
In reality, many people choose majors too quickly, dont like them, and end up going back to school to switch gears mid-career.
Hopefully, these tips for choosing your college major will lead you to your long-term career.
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How To Choose A College Major For My Career Path
Written by: Daniel Goodson // Aug 25, 2021
If youre like many students making post-high school plans, youre probably agonizing over how to choose a college major. You face a dizzying number of choices, your family keeps pestering you, and youre not entirely certain how the degree will lead to a career you love. But heres some good news: Your major wont necessarily dictate your career success or future happiness.
Many individuals in careers they love will admit that their college major had nothing to do with their current position. They may not even work in a related field. Still, picking the right college program up front can save you time as you complete your degree, qualify for the role you want after college, and work your way up the career ladder. Keep reading to see your steps for making the best-informed college major choice possible.