What To Consider When Choosing A College Major

What To Consider When Choosing A College Major

So you’ve picked a​ school (college or​ technical) but what are you going to​ study?
I’ve compiled a​ list of​ things to​ consider when choosing an​ academic major.

Level of​ interest: Do you enjoy the subject? You are more likely to​ be successful if​ you enjoy your major. if​ it​ bores you, you will likely be unmotivated and may suffer academically.

Do you have a​ natural talent/skill? Don’t discount any natural talents or​ skills, instead, let those skills guide you to​ success.

Possible careers? What sort of​ job will your degree prepare you for? Will you need additional schooling to​ achieve your career goals? is​ your major geared toward one particular trade (for example; engineering or​ accounting) or​ can you apply it​ to​ many careers (Majors such as​ English, history, psychology that teach marketable, non-trade specific skills such as​ reasoning, critical thinking, writing and communication)?

What are the requirements? What courses and how many will you have to​ take within the major as​ well as​ supplementary courses outside your major (i.e. accounting students take courses in​ marketing, economics, and business as​ well as​ specific accounting courses). Does the program require a​ minimum GPA for admission and retention? Will you need a​ minor? Will you be required to​ complete an​ internship or​ a​ co-op program?

Prerequisites. Are there specific courses you must complete prior to​ engaging in​ major specific courses? (Prerequisites are often lower level introductory courses that establish a​ basic set of​ knowledge that will be referred to​ and built upon in​ subsequent classes.) For example if​ you wanted to​ major in​ psychology you would most likely be required to​ take a​ course introducing theories, models and major researchers in​ the field.

Evaluate the instructors. How qualified are the teachers? Where did they go to​ school, what sort of​ degrees do they hold, where have they previously worked or​ taught and what have they published? Find out about reputations from other students as​ well. is​ a​ certain professor notorious for being rigid or​ difficult? a​ good relationship with an​ instructor can benefit you when you begin applying to​ graduate schools or​ jobs and you need recommendations.

Program reputation. Does the program receive national attention? What do graduates think of​ the program? What sort of​ jobs do alumni hold?

Are you considering a​ double major? a​ double major can be a​ huge undertaking. This can be fruitful but you will need to​ be more organized when planning class schedules and picking classes. Some majors will not allow you the time to​ devote to​ a​ second major (often called comprehensive majors.) Be informed and be prepared to​ work!

Check out survey and introductory courses in​ a​ variety of​ programs. These courses will be more general and give you a​ better understanding of​ what to​ expect from the program as​ a​ whole. Remember, you probably are not going to​ like every single class or​ topic in​ your major. I had a​ friend who loved cost accounting but hated her tax accounting class.

Browse the course catalog. Familiarize yourself with the policies and requirements. Read the school’s handbook regarding the differences in​ requirements for an​ Associate’s Degree, a​ Bachelor’s of​ Arts, Bachelor’s of​ Science, Bachelor’s of​ Fine Arts, etc. These will each require a​ different set of​ courses. Also, check your school’s general education requirements. These are often a​ set core of​ courses every student must take in​ order to​ earn their degree. Check for overlaps and conflicts with your major. Some departments won’t give credit for certain courses in​ a​ major that were used for general education requirements.

Use your advisor. These people know the ropes. They are there to​ help you navigate the system. if​ all of​ this is​ overwhelming (and don’t feel bad if​ it​ is) relax! if​ you have an​ advisor who just isn’t helping you, see if​ your school has a​ set of​ general advisors set up for undecided students. These counselors will often have access to​ information about general school topics (deadlines, procedures) as​ well as​ tools to​ help you find information regarding specific degree programs. if​ you already have a​ major but are unsatisfied with your advisor, consider asking for a​ reassignment. Often this can be done in​ the department office.

Talk to​ other students. They can often provide insight and experience that will be beneficial. an​ upperclassman can be your best friend when it​ comes to​ figuring out the system. Not only do they know the best places to​ eat, but they might know the best places to​ buy and sell books, the best advisors and the best teachers.

Don’t be afraid to​ change your mind. in​ the long run it’s better to​ spend an​ extra year or​ two in​ college than to​ be miserable or​ regret your decisions. People change their majors all the time (I changed mine 3 times.) and while it’s a​ big decision, it​ is​ only a​ piece of​ the larger puzzle.

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