Find My Degree: How to Decide on a College Major

Deciding on a major is one of the most critical decisions in college. Your college major can affect your whole college experience. But more importantly, the right major can significantly boost your employment chances and land you a high-paying job. So, how can you decide on a major in college?

Typically, four factors influence your choice of major.

These considerations are cost, job outlook, salary expectations, and further learning opportunities. Depending on which major you decide on can also affect which college you attend. 

For most students who are thinking about college, it’s tough to decide on a major. One university article published a survey showing that up to 50 percent of students are undecided on their major before college. Among students currently in college, nearly 75 percent change their major at least once before graduation. However, the same article reported that getting good grades is linked to choosing the right major.

Are you struggling to decide what to major in at college? This article is a complete guide to choosing a college major that will suit so that college is enjoyable and leads to a rewarding career.

What is a Major?

A major is a specialized area of study you decide to focus on in college. Usually, at least one-third of your degree course work will be connected to your major. You will then graduate from college with a degree in that major. Often, the term major is used in place of program.

Typically, there are core courses that are required in each major. However, each major has several optional courses that you can choose to take. Taking these courses can help narrow your specialization even more.

The Importance of Deciding on a Major

While a college degree can help ensure job stability, choosing the right major can lead to greater job satisfaction. Picking a major that you’re passionate about can help you enjoy greater success after graduation. If the chosen major is in line with your skillset, you will find it easier to enjoy a lucrative career.

When to Choose Your Major

There are divided opinions on when the best time to choose your major is. Some advisers say that it’s best to do thorough research to decide on a major before college. If you know what you want, have clear goals, and stick to your program, you will avoid wasting time and money on changing majors.

However, some people advise that going to college “undecided” is best. You can then choose a major in your sophomore year. Sometimes, trying out various courses can help you pick a college major that you feel happy with.

Whatever you decide, it’s vital to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your college education.

How to Decide on a Major

Deciding on a major doesn’t have to be complicated. Your interests, career goals, passions, abilities, and job prospects all play a role in coming to a conclusion. Read on to find out what factors you should consider when making a major decision.

1. Choose a major based on interests

It makes sense to major in a subject that you enjoy. Choosing a major based on interests makes coursework more enjoyable, engaging, and exciting. You will also find greater motivation to study hard and get good grades.

To help pick a major, here’s a helpful list of how to use your interests and personality to narrow down your choice of majors:

  • Make a list — Write down at least ten things you love doing or learning about. You may have diverse interests. But some of these could be combined into a major.
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses — Your strengths can be your greatest asset to graduate with a degree. Consider also your weaknesses. You could take courses that help turn them into strengths. Or, you may want to avoid majors where your weaknesses could hinder progress.
  • Discover your passions — Are there some things in life that your passionate about? Your passions are usually a combination of your abilities, interests, and values. Research shows that taking a major related to your passions results in the most outstanding college success.
  • Play to your abilities — Another factor when deciding on a major is your abilities. Of course, college is a place to learn new skills. But if you excelled in some areas at high school, you will find them easier to study in college.

2. Career goals influence decisions

Knowing the path you want your career to take can help you pick a college major. To become top in your field takes years of hard work and dedication. Very often, you need to choose a college program with the goal of continuing your education after getting a bachelor’s degree.

For example, suppose you wanted to pursue a career in healthcare. You could enroll in an associate’s degree program and study for two years. After graduating, you could find a good job in a hospital, healthcare facility, or doctors’ practice. After some time, you could go back to college to pursue a bachelor’s degree. The experience of working in a healthcare facility means that it would be easier to graduate.

3. Job prospects can help to decide on a major

Job outlook is another essential factor that can influence your decision on which major to pick. After studying for four years, you need to be sure that your education pays off. Shifts in the job market and changes in technology affect which jobs will be in demand in the future.

For some students, choosing a broad major is better than a specific, narrow one.  For example, majors such as nursing, engineering, finance, computer science, and teaching can lead to various jobs in their relevant industries.

As well as picking a major that will be in demand in four or five years, it would be best if you considered salary. Getting a high-paying job means that you won’t have to struggle financially in later life. Also, it will be easier to pay off student loans faster.

Deciding on a Major — In Conclusion

Pursuing a degree is one of the best career decisions you can make. But to make sure that your education leads to a job that pays well, you must make a wise decision on your major. By picking the right major, it will be easier to find employment after graduating, and you will love what you are doing.

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