6 Tips for Choosing the Right Major

Posted September 18, 2012

School’s back in session and for many students it’s nearing time to declare a major. Even if you have your heart set on a particular major or a dream job, you may second guess your decision throughout your college career. Though major decision flip-flopping is nothing out of the ordinary, it’s not something most students can afford to do, especially if you’re trying to graduate on time. Choosing the right major is no easy task, but it can be done with the help of these six helpful tips.

  1. Try entry-level courses:

    If you are unsure about a particular major and don’t know if it’s a good fit, you should consider taking a few entry-level courses before diving in all the way. Entry-level courses will give you insight on what to expect if you decide to major in this subject. These courses may also help you discover your strengths in another related field or change paths altogether.

  2. Consider its versatility:

    Remember, some majors are more versatile than others. A fashion merchandising major is nowhere near as versatile as, say, a business or communications degree. If you’re apprehensive about working in the field in which you majored, then don’t pigeonhole yourself into a narrow field. Think about the various career paths you can take with your desired major and consider its versatility when you make your final decision.

  3. Identify your strengths and weaknesses:

    You may know what subjects you like and don’t like, but do you know your strengths and weaknesses? Knowing this information makes choosing the right major a lot easier. You may be able to pinpoint a few strengths and weaknesses, like whether you’re a numbers person or a words person, but that may not be enough to help you make a clear-cut decision. You can take an aptitude test or simply talk to close friends and family who can help you identify your strengths.

  4. Consider the job market:

    Before you settle on any one major, it’s important to consider the job market and employment rate for your desired industry. Some fields are more recession-proof than others, like health care, engineering, education, and computer science. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a good source for employment statistics and career information.

  5. Follow your heart:

    One of the most important things you can do in your pursuit to find the right major is follow your heart. It may sound cliché, but if you actually like what you’re learning then you’ll be more likely to enjoy your career in the future. It can be tough to follow your heart when your family or whoever is paying for your education wants you to study something else, but it is ultimately your choice and your future that matters.

  6. Seek help from others:

    Choosing a major is a huge decision that can be hard to make on your own. If you’re having trouble making up your mind, talk to your academic advisor and those who know you best. Your family and friends can help identify your strengths and boost your confidence. An advisor will help you apply your strengths to a major that suits you well.

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