From the monthly archives:

March 2012

college student majorChoosing the right major in college is a very important decision, and one that should not be taken lightly. However, by putting too much pressure on yourself, you may end up making a hasty and incorrect choice. If you do your homework, take a close look at yourself, and check all available options, you’re more likely to select a major that will offer you long-term happiness and financial benefits.

1. Choose Something You Will Enjoy
Choosing to focus on a subject that you enjoy is the most important factor in determining your major. Becoming mired in a career for which you have no passion is an unenviable position – you can make all the money in the world, but if you’re not happy with your work, you’ll never be satisfied.

2. Evaluate Yourself
A wealth of online quizzes and evaluations are available to help uncover your strengths and talents. While you may think you know yourself, these tools can often identify hidden skills and reveal intriguing career paths to consider. Usually, when taking such quizzes, you can choose only one response for each question. If you feel that you could have chosen more than one answer for one or more questions, simply re-take the test to get a more comprehensive picture of your abilities.

3. Ask Friends and Family
When attempting to choose a major, you don’t need to place the entire decision solely on yourself – ask your friends and family what industry they think you’d perform well in. Often, you’ll be surprised at what they tell you. People that are close to you can offer an unbiased and objective opinion as to what career in which you could potentially excel.

4. Research
There are literally hundreds of choices available to you to major in, so it can be tough to narrow them down to a select few. But once you’ve got a good idea as to where you think you could be successful, fully investigate each industry. Research job descriptions, average starting salaries, advancement potential, and what the future job prospects are for each industry. Even if you think you’ve found the perfect major that could lead to a dream career, you could instead have a big problem if nobody is hiring.

5. Intern
By interning, you will receive an in-depth look at the industry in which you are considering entering, while establishing contacts with professionals in the field, which will be helpful when it comes time to look for a job. Both paid and unpaid options exist, and many will earn you academic credits. If you remain “undeclared” during your first semester or two of college, an internship during your first summer break could help point you in the right direction.

6. Take Your Time
Rather than having your mind set before attending your first class, you can always simply wait. Most core curricula at universities are similar in nature for the first year or two, so you do not need to commit to a major until you start your third year.

Start by attending core classes and earning the best grades you can. Meanwhile, get to know other students who are studying subjects that you’re interested in. They can offer you insights as to the classes are like and what the major can be used for after graduation – plus, this allows you to establish a wide range of contacts, which can come in handy in later years when it comes to finding a job.

Final Thoughts

You may decide upon a major during your first semester of college, or you may choose it after your second year has concluded. Regardless, there will almost always be time to change your mind further down the road. It may take you a bit longer to graduate if you make a change later on in your studies – it is advisable to try to avoid switching majors beyond your sophomore year – but it is also crucial to earn a degree in a field that you truly love and that will provide you with a long and beneficial career. To achieve this, it may very well be worthwhile to slightly extend your studies than to graduate with a degree that you regret or do not use in your professional life.

What other ideas do you have for choosing a major in college?

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