Choosing a college major can be overwhelming. With so many options, how do you know what to study? An increasingly popular solution is to start with an online degree. Online programs offer flexibility, affordability, and a chance to explore your interests before committing.
The Benefits of Starting Online
Online degrees provide immense flexibility - you can study anywhere, anytime, at your own pace. This makes it easier to balance education with work or family commitments. Online programs also tend to cost less than traditional degrees. With lower tuition and no campus housing expenses, online degrees reduce financial barriers to higher education.
Most importantly, online programs allow you to sample different subjects before settling into a specialty. Before selecting a major, you can take introductory courses in multiple areas, like business, IT, and healthcare. This helps ensure you choose the right program to match your skills and interests.
Focus on General Education First
For undecided learners, experts recommend beginning with a general online program focusing on a broad liberal arts core curriculum. Most online bachelor's degrees start with general education requirements like composition, math, science, humanities, and social sciences.
Completing these courses exposes you to diverse topics and different ways of thinking. This helps spark new interests that can guide your choice of major. General education also builds essential skills like critical thinking, research, and analysis - a strong foundation for more specialized study.
A flexible online program allows you to knock out gen ed courses affordably and at your own pace. This establishes a solid base before selecting a major.
Look for Specialized Certificates Too
For some careers like IT, marketing, or human resources, specialized certifications may prove even more valuable than minors. Certificates validate proficiency in niche skill sets sought by employers.
Examples include social media marketing certificates, a BBA in marketing for communication pros, or specific programming languages like Java or Python for developers. Clinical certifications are also available in healthcare specialties, from medical coding to sleep technology.
Like minors, certificates let you spotlight additional capabilities beyond your major. But certificates typically focus on targeted skill sets linked to clear career outcomes. They act as stamps of approval that qualify you for associated jobs or promotions. So consider seeking certs that align with your major and career aspirations.
Explore Interests with Introductory Courses
While fulfilling general requirements, also sample introductory courses related to majors you might be interested in. Most online programs offer an exploratory first year with classes surveying different fields.
For example, take intro courses in business disciplines like accounting, marketing, finance, and management. Or explore healthcare careers with surveys of healthcare administration, public health, and nursing.
Getting a taste of potential majors will reveal subjects you excel at or enjoy. So, let your early studies guide you toward a program matching your strengths and passions.
Easily Switch Majors If Needed
The flexible structure of online degrees makes switching majors hassle-free. Since you likely won't lose credits in the transition, it's easy to pivot if you realize a different major is a better fit after starting a program.
Perhaps you may have begun in IT but discovered a love of human resources after taking a few business electives. Or you entered nursing but now feel called to counseling or education. An online program empowers you to fluidly change paths until you find the right niche.
Still unsure what to study? An online degree offers an exploratory pathway to help you decide. Begin by completing general education courses to establish a broad academic foundation. Simultaneously, sample introductory classes related to majors of interest. This "test drive" approach helps identify your best-fit major so you can then specialize with confidence. Remember, online degrees make switching majors hassle-free if needed. So don't be afraid to try a flexible online program as your first step toward a degree in your dream field.