Choosing the right major is an extremely exciting yet critical part of attending college that can pave your way for a successful academic and post-college career. That is why it is important to be educated on how to choose a major in a smart and calculated way. Keep in mind that you do not have to be completely set on a specific major when starting the college application process. However, you should have somewhat of an idea, if you don’t already, as to what interests you.
First, when considering a major, don’t wait until the last minute. This means that as early as possible, even before attending college, you should start thinking about areas of study that excite you. Ask yourself: what do I like learning about? What past high school courses did I find fascinating or interesting? For instance, do you like learning about history? Or, are you considering a medical profession in the future and think that the sciences may be the right path? Or even, did you always like building things when you were younger and think an engineering degree might be up your alley? Accordingly, as early as possible, start considering choosing a few majors and work your way towards narrowing them down before going to college. Keep in mind that at most colleges, you must choose your major in your sophomore year of college.
Second, being curious about a variety of majors is always a positive thing. Meaning, some high schools and colleges actually offer an assessment tool to help you explore different majors that you may want to pursue. Even if they don’t, you can contact the career services department of the colleges of your choice or speak with individuals in each academic division that offer majors of interest. Learning more and having as much knowledge as possible puts you in the best position later on to have a successful and rewarding career based on the major you choose.
Third, consider a major that isn’t too narrow. This means that you should choose a major that isn’t too limited in scope, leaving you with few career options in the future. For instance, while you may be interested in ancient Chinese calligraphy, this may not provide you with many career options post-graduation. Perhaps think about choosing such a narrowly focused area of study as a minor and pursuing a major with more well-rounded future job options.
Fourth, also consider the salary and unemployment statistics for each major. While salary should not be the only factor when choosing a major, you should research the starting salary for the majors of your choice just so you have an idea as to what you are committing yourself to. Moreover, you should consider the rate of unemployment for those who have the same bachelor’s degree that you intend pursuing. Overall, you need to be armed with as much knowledge as possible so that you choose a major that reaps the most rewards in the future.
Lastly, make sure that you are passionate about your choice of major. Why this is important is not just because you want to enjoy what you are learning about, you should also consider that a major should be looked at as an investment and therefore should be chosen wisely. If you decide to change your major later on, work with your advisor to have as many classes considered towards your new major so that as little to no money is lost.