What Major is Right for You?

December 19, 2018 McGraw-Hill Higher Education

Choosing your major at college is a big decision to make. Not only are you choosing what field of study you want to pursue, you are essentially deciding your career pathway. Whether you are an undecided freshman, or thinking of switching your major, there are a number of things to consider.

Does the field interest you?

One of the first and most important things to consider is if you have interest in the field of study. You must have at least some interest in your studies, otherwise you will have almost no motivation to study at all. Ask yourself, do your strengths lie in this field of study? The major you choose must be something you have desired interest as it makes studying the topic enjoyable. If you’re unsure of what you field you want to study and specialize in, consider taking an interest assessment that can help determine what majors fit. A helpful one can be found at the website at Loyola University of Chicago: https://www.luc.edu/undergrad/academiclife/whatsmymajorquiz/#.

Will you be able to do the work?

When choosing a major, its important to consider the type of work that will be needed and the cost of attaining a degree in the selected field. All majors require many hours of rigorous work and study to complete, but the cost and kinds of work required differ greatly.

For example, being an environmental biology major, my class work requires me to take labs where I collect samples from the outdoors. I analyze samples in a laboratory and write reports to highlight my findings. I am able to do this work and I enjoy it, but this work is much different than the work required for a music or accounting major. You must be able to do the work that is required of the specific major and have the necessary funds to pay for it. To see the costs of different major programs from various schools, visit: http://www.collegecalc.org/majors/.

Can you see yourself working a job in that field?

When you get your degree, you want to get a job, and make money, right? Its important to consider the work aspects of that major when you graduate and move on to the real world. What kinds of jobs are out there for your major? Once you have figured that out, can you see yourself in that line of work? This is a critical factor to consider because most students would like a job in the field they studied in, and job prospects for that degree should not be overlooked. The website collegeboard.org is a great resource to use for researching career possibilities and seeing the salaries, opportunities and demand for each job. Here’s the link to begin your search: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors-careers

Carefully consider each of these factors when you are trying to figure out the right college major for you. With all this being said, do not be afraid to explore your options. Take general classes on topics that you may have an interest in, and once you get a feel for it you’ll have a greater idea of whether or not you want to pursue it. The important thing is to take advantage of all the diverse classes your college has to offer. A general education class could point you in the direction of the major that’s perfect for you!

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