Flickr user Morten Siebuhr

Is your future potential college asking you to choose a major in your application? Some schools require you to declare a major before you’re even a freshman or accepted, while others ask that you choose by the time you’re a Junior.

If you’re not sure how to go about choosing a major or just want to get an idea of your options, here are some frequently asked questions.

How Do I Choose a Major?

Choosing a major is unique to you and even the school you attend. Not all schools provide the same majors and courses. Start with your interests and maybe even your career goals. Is there anything that sounds like “that’s the one?” Talk with your guidance counselor and someone in your desired field. Job shadowing and asking questions is one way to check if the job is everything it’s cracked up to be. Prep is essential. You don’t want to spend four years to go into a career that was nothing like you imagined.

Most schools that ask you to declare a major before you’re accepted don’t lock you in to that degree. You can always change majors if you decide the courses or career just isn’t for you. Since you have to declare by your Junior year, you have two years to pick and choose classes if you’re trying to figure out which major is right.

What Majors Pay Well?

An aspect you may want to look at is how much your potential field and job pays for your major. Engineering majors generally top the list with petroleum engineering students receiving an average starting salary of $94,000 to $101,000. Electrical engineering jobs generally start at $66,500 but has a mid career salary average of $108,000.

Other majors that usually pay well are computer science, mathematics, software engineering, and geophysics. Remember that even though these majors tend to pay well, the key is finding a position. If there are only a few jobs reserved for these degrees, it may not be realistic.

How Difficult is it to Double Major?

The difficulty to double major tends to lie with your school! Some colleges schedule and create their courses differently than others. Planning ahead is key to double majoring.

However, at some schools, choosing double majors may actually keep you from graduating on time. If you wish to graduate in four years, you may want to consider working towards a Master’s after graduation instead.

What Are The Most Popular Majors?

Some of the most commonly chosen majors include computer science, business, political science, English, nursing, and chemical engineering.

Before finally deciding on a major, carefully weigh your options. Is this major going to give you the best opportunity to follow your desired career path after college? Is there another major that would work better? Do I need to get a Master’s to work in the field? Don’t randomly choose a major or decide on one simply because it sounds interesting. This decision may affect the rest of your education and future career as well as the rest of your life.

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