Tips For Choosing A College Major -- Course of Study
The Pure Empathy Marketing Group
Tips For Choosing a College Major — Course of Study
High School students should follow their hearts, not simply choose a major that betters job prospects. Below is explanation of the correct though process when choosing your major and life long career path.
To be an English major or not to be? That is the question that plagues thousands of newly minted college students each year, who have nightmares of walking off the stage at graduation directly into an unemployment line. But students who don't follow their hearts by delving into subjects they're most passionate about will ultimately hurt their chances of a successful—and satisfying—career in the long term, college officials say.
College can be a sizeable investment: The average student loan debt for students who attend private universities is nearly $30,000, according to the Project on Student Debt. Still, picking a major simply to secure a job that enables a student to pay off that debt as quickly as possible isn't the right approach, college advisers agree. It's an artful balance of synthesizing interests, skills, and personality strengths while acquiring experience outside of the classroom in the first four semesters, if possible—that will lead to a more informed major choice.
Use these five tips to decide when, and how, to choose the major that will be best for you:
1. Wait until college: With near-record levels of unemployment weighing on students' minds, an increasing number are starting to worry about their professional lives before they've even set foot in a college class, experts say. But students shouldn't let this pressure affect their decision making. Instead, students should give themselves ample time to try a diverse set of classes in their first year or two of school before deciding what field of study most appeals to them.
2. But don't wait too long: While college officials tend to agree that students should wait before they make a decision that has the potential to affect the rest of their scholastic and professional lives, they shouldn't wait too long—unless they've got a sturdy trust fund. If it takes until your junior year to find your niche and you really love what you're majoring in, then it might not be a terrible thing. Keep an eye on the money though—college is expensive and you don't want to waste too much time."
3. Curiosity won't kill you: Students and parents alike should pepper their college with questions about individual majors. See if the school offers any assessment tools that help you find a major that suits you, and speak with officials in the career services offices and the departments themselves to learn as much as you can about the major before you commit.
4. Make sure it's your passion: After students have had time as high school seniors and college underclassmen to explore various fields of study, it's likely that they've found one that greatly appeals to them. Follow that path, even if you're unsure about where it might lead, and what starting salary it might yield. Those factors won't matter in the long run. The tough idea for students today to grasp is that they can choose to study something that they are passionate about, an academic area that they love, without knowing what vocational path that might lead to. Many students get stuck on the idea that they have to have a clear vocational goal in order to choose a major.
5. Be aware of the exceptions to these rules: Students who wish to attend medical school will need to make that decision as early as possible. That's long been the case, and new additions to the MCAT will only exacerbate the need to plan out premed classes well in advance.
What is a College Major, and How Should You Choose One?
Your College Major Can Be a Path to a Great Career
College majors help you build knowledge and skills in a subject you're passionate about. Because today's employees move about and don't declare lifelong loyalty to a single company, employers increasingly rely on colleges and universities to grow skills that were once developed during in-house training and development programs. Many industries now require workers to complete a degree program before entering the workforce.
Table of Contents
- Skip to Why Do I Need a College Degree?
- Skip to How Do I Choose a Major?
- Skip to Your College Degree Program is Not Carved in Stone
Why Do I Need a College Degree?
Large employers have scaled back their internal training and development programs, relying instead on colleges and universities that can handle those tasks more efficiently. Though a growing number of businesses provide their employees with tuition reimbursement programs to cover the cost of ongoing career training, most job seekers competing for entry-level positions must invest in their own professional development.
Therefore, to compete effectively in today's job market, a college degree is an essential tool that can assure potential employers that you have the basic skills to handle new assignments. By enrolling in an accredited degree program, you can prove your skills and back up your claims with a solid college record.
How Do I Choose a Major?
Despite possible pressure from your family, from your community, and from society at large to select an appropriate (read: lucrative) college major, your decision does not have to cause you any grief. In many cases, your gut instinct will give you a good idea about the kinds of jobs you may want to pursue. Discovering the kinds of college degrees held by people who work in your desired field is the first step to choosing the right major.
Many high school students can benefit from the guidance of knowledgeable college advisors and career counselors. These experts can help analyze your academic performance and your interest in extracurricular activities to suggest some potential college majors. For example, if you excel in history classes and enjoy participating in your school's debate team, a counselor might suggest studying political science. Likewise, strong math skills and an active role in your schools' Junior Achievement program might suggest your inclination toward a business major.