It’s a common belief (and misconception) that if you’re good at something, you should make it your life’s path. This is especially the case when it comes to college and your future career. Many students believe that what to major in is entirely tied to whether or not they’re really good at a certain subject. However, that’s not always the best move.
You might find you’re strong in history class, but it might not be the best major for you and your academic or career goals. College Raptor has broken it down to show you why the idea that you should always major in a subject you are good at is a myth. And how you can go about using your strengths in whatever undergraduate major you choose.
Career Goals Don’t Always Equate to Personal Interests
When considering a major, you should have some sort of career options or end goal of what you’d like to do in mind. What you’re strong at doesn’t always translate to your career goals–and that’s okay! You have to consider the whole picture before diving into one particular subject. This will save you a lot of time and frustration when you’re graduating and trying to find a job in your major.
What are your career goals? Do they align with the subject you’re good at? Are you good at that subject because you’re interested in it or because it’s easy for you? Ask yourself these questions before picking or switching your college major.
You May Not Be Passionate About It
While you may excel at math and have been in all advanced classes during high school, that doesn’t always mean you’re passionate about it. You could find yourself taking courses, intending on majoring in math, and realize you just don’t enjoy the subject or career path you’re on. That’s okay. What you’re good at doesn’t always translate to a career.
Be honest with yourself at the beginning so you don’t take three years of math courses before you switch your major. If that happens, you may not have the graduation timeline you originally planned.
Consider Both Strengths AND Passions
When choosing a major, it’s important to consider both your strengths and your passions. Together they can help you find a path that fits your interests and personality. There could also be a way to incorporate your strengths into your major. For example, you may want to minor in history, a strong subject for you, even if you decide to major in English.
You can use College Raptor’s career finder to explore different career opportunities and see exactly what you need to do to get there.
Electives, especially during your freshman and sophomore years of college, can be a gift to your education and future. They are an excellent way to explore your interests, passions, major, and even just classes you may think sound interesting. You can look into subjects that you’re considering or strong in. Not only will they check some boxes off for your core courses, but they give you a chance to branch out and develop broad skills.
You can also take courses related to your intended major and your strengths. Take the prior example: Majoring in English, but strong in history. You may want to consider a nonfiction writing course or an expository writing class. You may have ways of incorporating history into those courses. Chemical engineering majors can take astronomy elective classes. English majors can take biology courses. The possibilities are endless!
If you think a course sounds interesting or could help you in the future, look into it! Research the class and see what it’s all about. If it sounds like something you’d enjoy, take it, it might even count toward your general education.
Network With Others
Networking is a great way to meet people from all different career paths and you can even find someone to mentor you! Speak with an advisor to see what events you can attend to network with people of certain career paths. You can ask them what their day-to-day life looks like to see if it’s the right fit for you. Hearing from people who majored in different subjects and have a certain career will help you see it from a more “real” perspective.
Here are some questions to ask when networking with someone who has a career path you want to explore:
- What did you major in?
- Did you double major?
- What’s your projected job growth rate?
- How did that major help you get this job?
- What internships did you do?
- Is there room for growth in your career?
- Do you have any advice for me?
- Did you need a master’s degree?
If you’re still unsure about which is the right major for you, check out these popular majors!
- Economics: Bachelor’s degree holders with this major usually have jobs such as data analysts, budget analysts, or financial managers!
- Business: Students who have a business degree can work a variety of jobs and have lucrative careers depending on what they do. Many business major students get a job in sales or a management role.
- Finance: With a finance degree, you can work as a financial analyst, market research analyst, or anywhere in the finance sector with a financial institution.
- Biology: Students who receive a Bachelor of Science in biology can be research assistants or go to higher education for a lot of different degree programs such as medical school!
- Computer Science: If we’re talking about college majors for a secure future, a computer science degree is at the top of the list. There are different computer-related career paths for students to choose from, and you can even work for the government!
Because there are so many degree options, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that what you excel at in high school should be your future career. However, college students shouldn’t be looking at just their strengths or just their passions.
It’s important to look at the whole picture and put together the pieces when deciding on a major for an undergraduate degree. Thinking about what you might like to do after graduation along with your interests can help you decide just what you should major in and maybe even help you with your college application essays. And if you decide you want to change your major, you can always speak with your advisor to see how you can move forward!
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