Choosing a major is one of the most important decisions you will ever make in your academic career. But if you’ve been doing enough self-searching and market research, prior to applying for college, then this should come easy.
In fact, if you have the opportunity, you should choose your college based on your major. Some colleges are known for offering superior programs in certain fields, even when they are not Ivy League schools.
Nevertheless, any college you attend should have a wide range of majors you can choose from that are sure to steer you toward your career goals. So here are five things you should consider when picking your college major.
What You Like
Work makes up at least 40 hours of our lives every week – not counting the hours we spend getting ready, and traveling to and from the office. Considering how much time it occupies, it goes without saying that you should choose something in a field you can enjoy.
So think carefully about how you spend your free time. Even seemingly unproductive hobbies like playing video games, doodling, and watching TV could translate into careers in programming, graphic design, and cinematography – if you have the passion and the drive to make it happen.
What You’re Good At
At the end of the day though, employers don’t pay workers for enjoying their work. They pay them for being good at it. With that in mind, you should consider what your strengths are, in and outside of the classroom.
If you have an exceptional or unusual skill or talent in any area, consider pursuing a major that is either in the field, or which complements it. For instance, singers could consider sound engineering, business, or public relations, as opposed to vocal training.
What Makes Money
College students can make money from any degree they choose. It all depends on whether or not that college student and that degree is a good match.
For instance, a lot of people try to discourage artists from majoring in English, the fine arts, or acting. However, some of the best actors, painters, and novelists majored in these areas and are multi-millionaires today.
You can make it if you have the drive to succeed, coupled with exceptional talent, and a knack for finding and recognising opportunities.
If you’re not the type to push and break down obstacles and barriers, then take the more tried-and-true route. The highest paying professions are in engineering, computer sciences, medicine, law, and finance.
What You Can Afford
As long as you land the right job, you can afford to start paying back student loans right away. However, even with loans, grants, and parental support, many of us still can’t afford to study medicine or law. Some degrees do cost significantly more than others.
As the old saying goes in Jamaica:
Hang your basket where you can reach it.
If getting a particular degree is likely to bury you and your family in more debt than you or they can afford to repay, then consider your other options carefully before selecting that major.
Anything could happen during the course of your studies that could prevent you from landing that job later on to repay loans. Sometimes, not even injury or death absolves your loved ones from repaying your debts.
What Teachers Recommend
In high school, or even as far back as kindergarten, many teachers may have recommended that you pursue a career in certain areas. What were they?
Many teachers simply want to encourage students to do better. But, no one knows your academic potential better than the people already teaching you academics. Interests may change, but an aptitude for certain areas develop from childhood.
For instance, my teachers recommended English and journalism from as early as kindergarten. Later on, I also showed a natural aptitude for social studies, and any other social science related courses, like history and geography. I have now been a professional writer for ten years, and write primarily about social issues and travel.
Put simply, they were right. Yours probably are too.
Hopefully these tips will help you to choose a major that you love, and one that will open doors to the career you always dreamed of. While switching majors is something many college students do without severe consequences in their academic career, taking a straight shot through college is always the best route.
Changing majors not only tacks on more time to your college years, but also more costs, and for some, more debt. It can also make employers question your decision-making skills, your commitment, and whether or not you know what you want.
So choose wisely, and do your best to push through.
About the Author
Alexis Chateau is the Founder of College Mate and Managing Director at Alexis Chateau PR. She is an activist, writer, and explorer. Follow her stories of trial and triumph at www.alexischateau.com.