While the advantages of holding a degree can be substantial, choosing the right major is fundamental. Taking a hard look at the big picture when selecting a major can make the difference between completing your program on schedule or making costly and time consuming curriculum adjustments mid-stream.
In order to find a major that best matches your interests and career goals requires you to first get in touch with your interests and aptitudes. Aptitude and interest surveys can help students narrow a broad subject field of interest, such as science, into a custom designed major, such as environmental biology.
Regardless of current employment forecasts, academic and career experts recommend taking time to explore non-traditional career avenues your chosen degree may afford and matching them with your strongest interests.
It’s no secret that a college degree can give you a tremendous leg up in today’s job market. Not only will it distinguish you above non-degree holding competitors, statistics indicate new hires with college degrees stand to earn up to $20,000 more per year than those without.
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Remember that the key to finding a major that matches your interests is not to rush the decision. However, it doesn’t pay to procrastinate either. Give yourself the time and tools you need to determine what your primary degree focus will be, the coursework involved and potential financial aid options your chosen degree may afford at different universities. Your student services counselor or academic advisor will be able to help you with this process.
Also, once accepted into a college, be prepared to explore and experiment. The average student changes his or her major two to three times during their first year in college. Even if the first major you pick isn’t the one you stick with, you’ll improve your chances of finding the right fit if you shop around. Don’t feel obligated to stick with a degree that’s not right for you. Remember, college is what you make of it. Changing majors a few times the first year is common.
I Have a Major, Now What?
Majors mean different things to different people. Some view the college major as a career-training program. Others see choosing a major as a path to personal fulfillment that has no connection to future career plans or the job market. You can read a good post about what can be done with your majors at http://degreesanddebt.com/2014/01/30/what-can-i-do-major/
Expert’s advice keeping a few things in mind:
Choosing a career-related major such as business administration or electrical engineering, means an easier job hunt after college, but you may compromise the depth of your education.
Plan to take electives outside of your major to balance your intellectual development.
If you choose a non-career-related major, you’ll have to work harder outside the classroom to develop your career goals.
Start career research early and do internships every summer to get the job experience and connections you need.
When Do I Have to Decide
Many colleges provide a deadline by which you have to declare your major—often usually by your junior year.
However, beware of hidden deadlines. More popular majors require completion of prerequisites—
courses you must complete before you can declare your chosen major. Schools use these prerequisites to help control enrollment in crowded majors. Make sure you stay on top of prerequisites and get them out of the way in order to declare your major.