How to Choose (and Stick With) a College Major

Deciding on a college major can get stressful.

Most of the time, you’re only a teenager and you’re expected to choose a career path that affects the rest of your life. Deciding on a major that’s a good fit for you is an important decision to make even at a young age.

Choosing a major can either open up a lot of possibilities and success or create a road of hardship and disappointment.

However, if you do your research, consider your interests, and factor in your passions, you’ll be just fine.

Create a List of Interests

Start by creating a list of interests. These don’t have to be related to academics, they can be anything that you enjoy.

Think about your hobbies, think about what you do on your downtimes, and think about parts of school you particularly enjoy. Try to make the list as long as possible.

Once you have a huge list, try to group your interests together by what college major could be applicable.

For instance, if you like reading and writing, those could go along with history, English, or journalism majors.

If you like numbers, consider accounting, economics, or mathematics.

If you just like sports, consider sports broadcasting, physical education, personal training.

Almost any interest comes with a potential career attached to it, you just have to be creative.

Cross Reference Your Interests with Abilities

After writing down all of your interests (don’t leave any out!) study them and figure out if your skills align with your interests. If you excel in one or two areas that align with your interests, then that may be an excellent major for you.

People enjoy and excel in an activity are more likely to be successful.

Pick a major you love and are good at so that learning more about this topic will be a pleasant experience. In addition to enjoying what you’re learning about, later after graduation, you’ll have a significant leg up on competitors in your field!

Keep in mind that being talented in certain areas of your life doesn’t guarantee success. It’s still going to take a lot of work and dedication to turn your passion into a career that’ll help you thrive.

Consider Different Job Opportunities

Now that you’ve narrowed down your major to topics you enjoy and excel in, it’s time to think about future job opportunities. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are companies currently hiring in the field I’m going to school for? Is my job in high demand and will it be in the future?
  • Automation may replace many workers – will my career still be viable in 10 or 20 years?
  • How much does a job in my field pay? Will I be able to live the lifestyle I want on the average salary for the type of position I’d like to be hired for in the future?
  • What about where I’d like to live? Are there job opportunities that fit with my major? If not, is there another opportunity I’d be willing to take?
  • Am I willing to relocate if I can’t find my dream job? If I have to relocate, will my salary cover the expenses of moving and the cost of living in certain areas?
  • Is my career something that is going to cost a lot of money? If I want to be a doctor, for example, do I have the finances and dedication to get a bachelor’s degree, medical degree, go through a residency program, and get certified to advance my career?
  • Do I want a family? Is my career going to make it difficult to have a family or dedicate time to a family? Is my job going to be a risk to my life? For example, being a firefighter is admirable, but it can put a strain on relationships and make it difficult to have a life outside of work.

Consider the Cost of Education

After you’ve thought about various job opportunities in the field you’re considering, figure out what the total cost of the degree will be. Some majors and careers are more expensive than others (like we discussed above), so you should consider that as well.

If a degree is expensive, but the jobs in your field don’t pay a lot of money, then it may not be worth it to go down that path. Consider how much a degree and advanced degree (such as masters or doctorate) will cost in addition to a bachelor’s degree. If it’s going to take many years to pay off your degrees with a low paying job, then it probably isn’t a good career choice.

Don’t Stress Out

It’s impossible to know what your entire future will hold fresh out of high school. Getting stressed out about your major now won’t help you in your current situation. All you can do is your best and make a well-informed decision based on your current skills.

When you get older, your interests and skills will continue to evolve. If you need to switch majors, it’s okay.

Keep in mind that switching majors can cost money, especially if you’re an upperclassmen. You can double major if you’re not sure which degree is a better fit, but a better option is to major in two subjects that compliment one another. Also, if you were to switch from mathematics to computer science degree or marketing to communications, they will likely have similar academic requirements, making it a lot easier to change degrees.

As you begin this exciting stage in your life, remember to enjoy life and not get too wrapped up in trying to figure it all out at a young age. When you get older, your interests may change, and that’s alright.

Do your best now to decide what a good career option is for you and look forward to a future full of prospective job opportunities where you can show off your talents.

Let your skills guide you to a fulfilling career that will make you excited about what you’ve worked so hard to achieve and still what’s to come!

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2 Comments on “How to Choose (and Stick With) a College Major

  1. maybe something in this for College Success or Boot camp?

    Anne Anne Michie Chief Compliance and Program Officer GRASP 4551 Cox Rd, Suite 115│Glen Allen, VA 23060 (804) 527 7785 direct│(804) 527 7726 main line http://www.grasp4va.org

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