Learn how to choose your future scope
Big decisions have to be made
For every person – every child – there is that point in life coming to decide, what to study and what to graduate. Yes, of course, this is a tough decision. It doesn’t only affect the following years. It affects the entire future. But, honestly, who knows what he or she wants to work in or build a business when they are more interested in having fun and looking at the opposite gender...
There are obviously also some students that exactly know what they want to be one day and what they have to choose as a major. But if that is not you, that won’t be a problem.
It's perfectly all right not to know yet. The following guide intends to give you a personal insight into what you need to consider when choosing a subject, and it also gives you an overview of some of the options available to you.
And keep in mind: Some schools even overbook themselves. This means they accept more students in one specific major than they can serve. Therefore, some take the student’s declaration of majors into account; some don’t.
Nevertheless, your choice of a major can affect your college acceptance.
Whatever your choice of major is going to look like, make sure you do not forget the following points. They are - definitely - the most important things for your considerations.
The decision what to take as a major has a significant impact on your student’s life. It is not just the time while attending college – it is also the working time that follows. This makes it more than necessary to take interests into account while choosing the right one.
What is your interest?
Fixing things and inventing new stuff?! Then you should consider Engineering. Leading groups and doing successful projects?! Then you should take Management and Business Administration as a possible option. Interested in learning everything about our past and even the past of our world we live in today?! Then it also can be something like History that would fit. Are you interested in how the world and all the things around us work? Then something like Physics, Biology or Chemistry would be a perfect choice.
Besides the fact that it should be something interesting that creates a positive feeling while doing and studying it, it should also challenge a little bit. Don’t get me wrong – it shouldn’t take you ages to understand everything the major is about. But it also shouldn’t be too easy – we want growth, not stagnation.
2. Experiences made
It is not just about the school subjects and about the interests right now. When you decide about the major, the experiences made outside the school are also essential.
This means it is necessary for each student to have a look outside the shell to experience different kinds of working fields. The best way, to get a good insight, is to work as an intern in various companies. If that is not possible, it also can be valuable to interview people working in a specific field. These interviews can contain information about the jobs themselves or opportunities given for a great career. Don’t be too shy to ask all the questions – this can be the starting point of something big.
Names do often come with a specific expectation. It often happens, that the reality of studying differs to what a major sounds like. This means it can include a different set of information or different requirements.
Don’t be scared if your major expects one or more requirements. There are always two choices: Try it and take the challenge or leave it and search for something else.
Of course, different colleges will ask for different requirements. Take a look around as well. But honestly: You can’t succeed in Finance if you can’t do the math... What this means?! Try to find something which is suitable for your talents and which motivates you to fulfil all the requirements.
4. Money, money, money
Of course, money is not all you need. There are friendship, love and family as well. But unfortunately, money means a lot nowadays. That leads to an essential and significant impact of career opportunities after graduating. To make sure you can reach (!!) a salary which fits your ideas, it obviously makes sense to have a look at specific earnings in certain fields. Here are a few numbers:
5. What about grad school?
With intentions to attend higher schools after college, the decision on what to take as a major will have a bigger impact. If a student wants to become a programmer once, it can be very helpful to show off some experience and knowledge in IT. If the student wants to become a pharmacist, it can be useful to have physics, biology and chemistry on your grad school applications.
The impact of aptitudes
As mentioned before, there is a lot of things, that needs to be considered while choosing the right major for college. But the most important influence is the aptitudes someone has. It has been proven by Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation (2007), that it is more likely to stay on track when you also consider your own aptitudes.
As easy as it sounds, there are always students who do not choose their major according to their aptitudes. There is a lot of reasons for that. The most common one is to follow the footsteps of their own parents. Imagine both parents being doctors, so it is more likely that they want their kid becoming a doctor as well.
There is also money as a reason. A lot of students choose their major in a field where it is more likely to earn a lot of money. What they forget is the fact that you only can be successful, when you love what you are doing.
The last reason to choose something different can also be role models. As everyone knows, there has been that rumour going around, that girls are not as good as boys with STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, math). But by now, it has been proven by a lot of researches, that girls can succeed in that field. I am just mentioning Marie Curie!
Before the millennial change, students were going to college to explore life and options they maybe can take. By the year 2000 and the newborn »Generation Z« the motives of studying changed. There is no more exploring; they already connect their choice of majors with their future jobs or idealistic visions, which is not entirely a bad idea.
Nevertheless, it can be helpful to have a little bit of experience outside the field your dream job is in. This special knowledge can add extra money to your average salary as well. So, you shouldn’t only look at what the market is searching for
What employers most commonly look for
According to CNBC employers look for these top ten majors:
- business (30 %)
- engineering (26 %)
- computer and information science (23 %)
- engineering technologies (16 %)
- communication technologies (13 %)
- maths and statistics (11 %)
- construction trades (11 %)
- health professions and related clinical sciences (10 %)
- science technologies (9 %)
- architecture and planning (8 %)
To find the perfect major for the dream job, students can do informational interviews with people already working in that field. This is not only an insight into the pros and cons of a specific job. The interviewed person can also give a lot of advice, what major should be taken to succeed in the future career. This interview can be done in person as well as digital – remember: Generation Z!
For students, who are still not convinced by one specific major, it can be good advice to take the major they feel the most excited about, as well as the one that matches their background the most.
Sometimes it isn't easy to find a matching major if there is more than one interest. For this situation, colleges often offer interdisciplinary majors that can be chosen as well. As mentioned, it can also be helpful and useful to choose a minor in another field. It often can be useful to choose something related to business. This choice offers the possibility to be successful at self-employment one day if everything else doesn't work out.
If these options still don’t help, a lot of colleges offer programs, in which it is possible for students, to attend a lot of courses at the same time to pick their major according to what they enjoy the most. A lot of colleges also offers guidance.
First choice majors
Unfortunately, a few colleges require their students to apply for a specific major directly. This can make it difficult to put one’s foot in the door at these colleges. It often causes that students change their chosen majors on their application to something less competitive. Probably this can help to get into the college. But it doesn’t help to get the wanted major.
You can’t choose Education when you want to study Engineering. Of course, you can try to switch, but also that can cause difficulties. So instead try to get your major – even if that means to go to the second-best college.
What happens after you chose?
After choosing a major, the following aspects will be affected.
□ Activity plan
Usually, it should not be too difficult, to match the activities outside the school with the chosen major (obviously because it already has to do with hobbies and interest). If there is no extra activity in that field so far, don’t hesitate and show initiative. Be the founder of a club or a new school program for precisely that specific major.
»Don’t just dream it – do it! «
This is how you will be successful. Not only at college. This is the key to success in every part of life.
To mention activities that relate to the applied major can help students to get accepted.
□ College lists and application
To know what major to choose will help you to find a proper college as well. It also can be the other way round, but that is also fine. It is just essential to find a major that is loved and exciting as well!
When a student applies for a college, the major they chose will be kind of a »single point of view« under which the application will be checked. To get the application related to the major as good as possible, it is necessary, to know as much as possible about the major and the field around it.
There can never be too much knowledge about the chosen major.
A major symbolizes the primary field of the studies. This is the core subject for your time at college. It comes with a specific plan of credit hours and how to achieve the expected credit points. These plans can vary between universities and colleges. You can also switch the major during your studies if you are not completely happy with it.
The minor subject you chose is a pleasant add-on knowledge you can create. You don’t have to take one, but it gives you a great advantage to compete in the job market. You can choose between something related to your major or something completely different.
You don’t have to choose a major on the very first day you start at university. Sophomore year it the time you have to make your decision – this is the end of your second year of studies.
If you can’t decide between two subjects, you can still go for double majoring. But be careful: This doesn’t mean that you get half the work to do in each of your majors.