Confused while choosing a major? Here’s spilling the beans
"It is a major decision to choose a major in your education"
While growing up, you come across several suggestions about careers, post-graduate paths, and what to pursue. But inspirations and interests vary for every individual, and thus, to build a successful career, it's preferable to choose something that can transform your life, something you're passionate about.
But often, making a choice isn't easy. Though the modern education system is growing has started offering various options to choose from, it's still common for students to get confused when selecting colleges, courses, and even majors.
If you're among such students who wish there was some kind of guidance for picking the right major, you've come to the right place. In this article, we will illustrate the "what" and "how" of choosing an appropriate major.
What is a Major?
A major is a subject area in which a college student specializes. Majors are incredibly significant during college because they determine what degree you will graduate with and what career you will be most qualified for after graduation. Though it may not seem like it, selecting the right major holds much vitality at the start of your college. That said, you don't really have to decide your major when applying unless it's engineering, computer, or nursing.
Tips that can help with making the choice
Let's learn about a few tips that may help you figure out your primary or right educational path before starting college.
- Determine what excites you
Excitement leads to happiness. Usually, colleges don't expect you to pick a major and engage in vocational training from day one. So you may have some time to explore and enjoy your initially. The most significant point to keep in mind here is to stick with a subject that interests you. For instance, if you've been longing for a professional career such as a doctor or lawyer, you might need pre-professional majors and double majors. On the other hand, majors like English literature may be a better idea if you love writing. Therefore, before choosing your likings, identify your strengths and weaknesses through SWOT analysis, take your time, explore, learn, think it through, and then decide.
- Build a list of careers you want to learn more about
After assessing your strengths, interests, and skills, you should make a list of those dream careers you think are suitable for you. You must have a long list, with at least ten career choices, so that the narrow-down process becomes easy later on. Ideally, two to five top picks show you have an open mind for your future.
- Economic factor: Your expectation of income
Ideally, thinking about the aim of where you want to end up in your future career will ease your decision-making process. Sometimes such decisions are taken under professional influence, personal inspiration, or family pressure. But the most crucial reason behind your choice is your desire to make money. It's to find the best ROI. Some professions make more money than others, both in initial stage salaries or median salaries. Your dream salary should be your ultimate goal. Usually, majors in STEM subjects, government, statistics, and economics generally bring higher starting salaries for undergraduates. However, in the case of majors such as English, anthropology, sociology, and art history, more schooling will bring in higher wages later than the initial. But keep in mind that an excellent annual salary doesn't mean that you end up feeling depressed in your career. So the choice has to be apt and futuristic.
- Is the career path location specific?
You must think before heading towards a major that's location-specific. It plays a vital role in the opportunities arena. Remember that if you apply to a school near the location which you would like to work in the future, it may help you with better internship offers. Additionally, it's a great idea to feel the environment of your future career. Therefore, detailed research is expected out of you in the field of your interest. You must find the appropriate area of your interest as well as the best learning institution.
- Alteration in the course selected
You can change your major in college. It's a universal fact that most students change majors several times. Sometimes the major you declare in the beginning doesn't end up being the right one, so you may make up your mind to change regardless of the year you're pursuing. You may take your counselor's guidance on picking a new subject and setting up your schedule.
- Professional assistance
Due to extreme uncertainty and confusion, you can get deviated from your career path. Hence, it's always advisable to look forward to an expert's advice while picking up a suitable major. You can seek the best advice from your school counselor. They usually help students make the same decisions and thus may guide you with college fairs at school, recommend elective courses, help you explore careers, and put you in touch with recent grads.
- Be calm and composed
Panicking in any situation is not at all beneficial. It's normal to go to college and not have a clear idea of what you'd like to do as a career. It's also reasonable to think you know what you want to do as a profession which might include changing your mind halfway through your time in college. Therefore, give yourself some room. You may finish the general requirements of a degree, and the option of taking electives might still be available to you.
List of options
Now when you are through with the fundamentals of picking up the perfect subject, let's learn about the various major options to choose from.
Most colleges don't even let you pick a major until the end of your sophomore year, and that gives you plenty of time to "try out" different majors.
First, go through the following list of degrees offered by colleges to know what you'll need for the field that interests you:
- Associate Degree is a two-year associate of arts (AA) or science (AS). Community colleges or professional colleges offer associate degrees.
- Bachelor's Degree is a complete four or five-year college program. Few students prefer a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. The other two fields you may want to try are Bachelor of Fine Arts or a Bachelor of Architecture.
- Joint Degree gives students the option to acquire a bachelor's degree and a professional degree simultaneously so as to save time.
- Graduate Degrees are advanced degrees pursued after earning a bachelor's degree. For instance, the Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS).
Which majors are most popular?
The requirement for academic majors in different subjects varies with hiring trends, industry growth, and other employment factors. Students who hold degrees in business and STEM-related fields are considered the most in-demand. However, the list is endless. Let's go through various major programs you can choose from.
- Computer and information science
- Science and technology
- Math and Statistics
- Communication and journalism
- Medical Health professions and related clinical studies
Points to remember
- Most graduate degrees, like medicine or law, don't require specific majors as prerequisites.
- Many colleges and universities offer a hybrid structure to degrees incorporating multiple significant fields.
- Technology has brought an excellent opportunity for a web-based learning system, giving the students the best educational opportunities.
Unfortunately, many students avoid humanities and opt for other degrees thinking that it will guarantee them a "stable" job in the future. They assume that majoring in subjects like Philosophy or Linguistics or English is limiting and worthless these days. However, the truth is unbelievable. If you opt for a humanities major, you may acquire crucial problem solving and creative thinking skills. An additional advantage is writing skills. You might learn to analyze your thoughts and organize them into cohesive sentences. Moreover, you may learn how to parse and analyze texts and read the views of others. It might also give you a clear and crisp understanding of the world around you.
To wrap it up
Today's students are lucky to have unlimited fields of study when it comes to choosing a career path. A straightforward way to figure out the right major for you is to consider what you've always been interested in. Self-assessment, narrowed perspective, variety of choices and a deeper understanding of all admitted majors will help you reach a reasoned conclusion.