How to Pick Your College Major

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Freshmen students have it so easy. At most schools, majors don’t have to be declared until at least the sophomore year. That gives incoming students the chance to get required classes out of the way and explore their interests.

By your junior year, you’ll have matriculated and chosen your major. You may have switched majors already once, perhaps twice or more. If you fall into the latter category, then you may want to make an appointment with your advisor to make sure that you’re on the right path. No sense taking more credits than what you need in order to graduate.

How should you go about choosing a major? That can depend on a few things including the following:

Weigh your interests — Some students can’t get past the financial aspects of a job, choosing their vocation primarily on what they can earn, not what they enjoy doing. Instead, consider the things you like to do in order to narrow down your career options.

What job you like — The Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) offers information about possible careers including what schooling is needed, job prospects and salary. You may dream about becoming a veterinarian, but realize your interests aren’t as strong once you dig deeper. Or, the BLS may confirm your path, giving you the direction you need to take.

Seek skilled guidance — It can be difficult to narrow down what you want to do which means consulting with your college adviser is a good move to take. You may enjoy business, but are torn between becoming an accountant, a tax attorney or a business manager. A counselor can offer skills tests and help you map out a plan off attack. Quite possibly you could be suited for a double major, not a bad option and an excellent way to increase your marketability.

Consider generalizing — At one time choosing a Liberal Studies major was the career kiss of death for students. But, things have changed. Today, employers are looking for well-rounded candidates and are interested in people who speak more than one language fluently, have studied overseas, work cross-culturally and are not myopic. At some schools you can pursue Liberal Studies and minor in an area of concentration.

Ask a number of adults who graduated from college whether they’ve ended up in the job they trained for and you may be surprised to discover that they’re doing something different today. Some went on to pursue master’s degrees, other took additional courses to broaden their skills, while still others may have happened on a job they just love.

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Categories: Academics