5 Tips for Choosing a College Major

Choosing a College Major Tips

  • Do a broad search across all academic disciplines
  • Consider the time investment and what kind of lifestyle you want to achieve upon finishing and establishing a career.
  • Play to your strengths.
  • Take advantage of offers from people whom you know to shadow professionals or serve as an intern.
  • Get the facts about the college majors that match the careers you have taken into serious consideration.

Students finishing up their high school careers often struggle with the choice of a college major. This is an important decision that impacts your investment in a college education and your future career options. It's crucial to spend time choosing a major that you can be happy with and turn into a career or a business. These five tips can help you choose a vigorous program of study that will keep you intellectually stimulated throughout your college career:

#1. Do a broad search across all academic disciplines.

Because of the knowledge and information explosions of the last few decades, there are numerous college majors that did not exist when our parents and grandparents went to college. Therefore, it's wise to cast your net wide when searching for college majors. This includes doing some Internet research into majors offered by private institutions, state universities, local colleges, and distance learning providers. With an Internet connection and a personal computer or laptop, you can participate in many college degree programs from any location. You must meet a program's admission requirements and find a way to afford its associated costs.

#2. Consider the time investment and what kind of lifestyle you want to achieve upon finishing and establishing a career.

According to U.S. News and World Report bloggers Julie and Lindsey Mayfield, there are many essential questions to consider. It's not just a matter of what you want to be when you become an adult. Two big issues concern how much time you want to spend getting a college degree and what kind of lifestyle you want to achieve when you finish your education. For example, some careers offer higher salaries, but they also demand additional commitments such as extended hours and frequent travel.

#3. Play to your strengths.

Consider taking a career test or a personal interest inventory online or through your school. This kind of tool helps you identify your personal strengths and interests. For example, you may spend many hours baking or cooking, and you might not have considered turning this passion into a career as an executive chef. You might look at culinary degree programs near where you live and weigh their costs and time commitments against traditional college and university degree programs.

#4. Take advantage of offers from people whom you know to shadow professionals or serve as an intern.

If you are an adult with some free time or a curious high school student juggling academics and social activities, you are ripe for participating in experiences in your community. Don't hesitate to accept opportunities that will help you determine whether a particular major is right for you.

#5. Get the facts about the college majors that match the careers you have taken into serious consideration.

Sometimes, high school students put off the session with their career counselor until they are nearing the end of their four years. When they go to apply to colleges, they realize they don't have all of the requirements, such as SAT or ACT scores and academic courses, necessary for admission. If you will apply to competitive college degree programs, be sure to align your high school studies with the majors on your list.

Choosing a college major is a very personal decision. To maximize your personal enrichment and growth throughout your college experience, take the time to match your interests and abilities with a major that will pay off over the rest of your life.

See also: 5 Tips for Choosing a College Major