How to Select a College Major That’s Right for You

Flickr user tec_estromberg

Flickr user tec_estromberg

Students are facing increasing pressures to choose the right college major. Whether it’s your parents, your teachers, or your peers, you’ll likely be getting plenty of questions surrounding your choice of college and major. “What’s your chosen major?” “What are your future career prospects with that major?” Everyone seems to have an opinion on the matter.

Choosing a college major can be a stressful period in your life, but it doesn’t have to be. At the end of the day, you need to choose an option that is right for you. By taking the time to understand better what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing, as well as researching the job prospects, you can find a college major that suits you.

What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing?

To help you figure out which major would best suit you, you need to understand where your interests and strengths lie. Think about the subjects you have enjoyed while at school, which ones you excel in, as well as your hobbies and interests. While these will be a bit different in college, you can still use the ones at school as a guide to what you think would work well for you.

If you’ve done any work in the past, including voluntary work, then think about what aspects of the job appealed to you and any parts you did not particularly enjoy. This experience may help you get a better idea of the type of job you would enjoy doing afterward, whether it involves working with your hands, dealing with clients, or managing others.

You should be considering your weaknesses, as well as your strengths. If you’re interested in becoming a veterinarian but are not very good at sciences, then this could make it more difficult to not only study this in college but also when it comes to working as a veterinarian. Be realistic about your abilities, but don’t forget that some skills can still be learned.

Consider the job prospects

Some people already have a career path mapped out, which makes it a lot easier to choose a college major that will best allow them to reach their goals. Of course, not everybody knows what kind of job they will want to do once they graduate. Once you have a better idea of where your strengths and interests lie, your next step is to explore career options.

Think about which fields appeal to you and what kind of work you enjoy doing. Don’t just focus on one thing, like how well the job pays. There are several factors to consider, including employment growth, working environment, health and safety, the number of job openings, and how demanding the role is. You may be the type of person that thrives in a stress-filled environment, or you may crumble under the pressure; think about how well the job suits your long-term goals and your personality.

Don’t disregard any majors just because they don’t offer a clear career path that appeals to you. You may have an interest in anthropology but aren’t sure about the best job to get with that. Remember, you gain more than knowledge from your major. You also acquire transferable skills that will work well in other industries. Anthropology teaches you research, observation, and analytical skills that would work well in a market research role.

Narrow down your choices

Once you have a better idea of what you might enjoy studying and which career options you would be interested in, it’s time to narrow down your choices and select a college major.

There are various resources at your disposal to help you, including the college’s course catalog, the career center, the professors, alumni, classmates, and friends and family.

If you can, try and gain some experience in the areas that interest you. Look for an internship or a voluntary position that would offer you a bit of hands-on experience. This experience will give you a far better idea of what you can expect from the role on a day-to-day basis. Get a real taste for the job before you commit to anything. You could even ask to speak to someone who does the job to get an insider’s perspective of the industry and long-term opportunities.

Remember, there are several options out there, so you don’t have to choose a major straight away if you’re still unsure. You have the choice of going for an undeclared or undecided major, or you could opt for a double major, or a major/minor program. Explore the different options available before you rush into making a decision.

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