Choosing a College Major

One important decision you will make in college is choosing a major.

A major is a specialized area of study such as accounting, engineering or music. With so many majors available, it can be difficult to select the best one for you.

Remember, the major you choose does not necessarily determine your future career or earning potential. Many people hold jobs that have little to do with their college major. You can also change your major once in school. In fact, the majority of college students change their minds at least once about their major. However, a large number of the classes you take will be in your major or a related area.

So, what should you think about when choosing your major?

Below are some things to keep in mind while making this important decision:

What career field do you wish to enter?

Is there a specific degree needed for the career you have in mind? For example, most elementary teachers have a degree in education and must meet certain licensing requirements in their state to teach. Check to see if there is a certain degree held by most people in the field you are pursuing.

What are your interests? What are you good at?

It is important to consider what you enjoy and what you are well-suited to do. Do you enjoy science or literature? Are you passionate about education or nature conservation? There are no right or wrong answers here. This is about you as an individual and what you want to spend your time doing.

It is also important to consider what areas you find difficult. For example, a person who struggles with math and science classes will probably not do well in a major such as pre-med or engineering.

What is the career outlook and salary potential for the major you are considering?

The Career Services Office can assist you in answering these questions. Most students want to major in a field that will be in demand in the future so that their knowledge and skills will be in demand.

Keep in mind that having a degree does not guarantee a large salary. Think about the lifestyle you may want to have in the future and the income needed to make that possible. Not everyone cares about making a large sum of money, but most people want to earn an income that supports their needs.

Learn more about what you will need to be earning with our living wage calculator.

What if you have no idea what to major in?

It is OK if you are not sure about what major to choose. Many students choose a degree such as communications or business that will allow them to work in many fields. The skills you learn in college such as effective communication and problem solving are needed in most jobs. Your academic advisor and the Career Services Office can help you determine what path may be right for you.

What if I change my mind?

Most students change their major at least once. This is OK. Just remember that changing majors may delay your graduation date if you have to take additional classes. Many adults also change career fields a few times over the course of their work lives.

Remember that choosing a major is an important decision, but it will not determine your entire future.

New technology and new jobs are created every day in an ever changing world. No matter what major you choose now, you can return to school to learn a new skill or earn a graduate degree.

Seek the advice of instructors, career services staff and academic advisors. Talk with your family to see what insights they may have for you. Choose your major with care but remember that the possibilities for your future are endless.

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