What to Think About when Choosing a Major

The pressure is strong for students to go to college, succeed, graduate and then begin a career to pay off the debt. With the state of the current economy it’s a tremendous challenge for someone in their early twenties, unless they’ve chosen the right major.

There is no right or wrong major to study, but it is widely understood that certain majors are presented with better career opportunities than others after graduation. The good news is that there is some flexibility year to year for college majors, although there are a core set that will provide a greater chance of success. These majors tend to be in the sciences, technology and mathematics range.

What does this mean for the artists, the creative thinkers that refuse math or can’t stand the sight of blood? Are they doomed to struggle because their major doesn’t fit into the ‘professional’ set that the economy is demanding of them? Absolutely not, the choice of major is up to the student. Here are some tips to keep in mind when deciding your path of study:

1. Talk to your friends and family. Ask them what they majored in, or what they plan to major in. Then ask them what they assume you will major in and why. Getting those you care about and trust’s opinion might help you see what you want to do with your future.

2. Study what you’re passionate about. If you choose your major on a subject you love, chances are you’re never going to get bored of it.

3. Make sure there’s a challenge. Breezing through college won’t help when you enter the real world. By picking a subject you love, but that also challenges your thinking will prepare you for any careers challenges. Example: A student good at art but is studying architecture.

4. Chose a subject that’s practical – This doesn’t have to mean ‘business’ or ‘computer science’ because it may be where the jobs are, it just is a suggestion not to spend four years and over $60,000+ on Egyptian hieroglyphics unless you’re planning and are able to move to Egypt to  search for mummies. It might not be too helpful if you plan on living in Texas.
5. Take an assessment test. Totally stuck on major subject to even think about? Take one of the assessment tests. The career center or guidance counselor should have either paper assessment forms or pamphlets with online resources. They’re meant to be helpful and often surface a major perhaps you’ve never thought of considering before.

It’s a big decision choosing a major and fortunately during undergraduate degrees there’s up to two years before making it official. It can be difficult; however, if a particular major requires a lot of prerequisite courses. Draft up possible major routes, what classes you’d like to take and if they’d work with the major you want to declare. If still at a loss pay a visit to the admissions team, they’re trained to help students find their path. Four years goes by quickly and you don’t want to miss any opportunities that only college can provide!

Ashley Murrell – Originally from Seattle, WA, Ashley is a writer for Hotcouses Ltd, based in London, England covering topics about studying abroad in the USA as well as current higher education issues for www.hotcoursesusa.com. She loves a good cuppa and is looking forward to the 2012 Olympic craziness.

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