How To Choose a Major in College

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As you pursue a bachelor’s degree, one of the most important considerations you’ll need to keep in mind is what major you should choose. Throughout your college experience, your major will determine the courses you take, the subjects you study, and your post-grad plans, whether you’re moving on to a master’s degree or are heading straight into the workforce. By taking the time to really think through which college major is right for you in advance, you’ll be setting yourself up for success as you move through college and as you reach your career goals going forward.

Be sure college is the path for you.

Before considering what you’ll study, it’s important to make sure that pursuing a bachelor’s degree is truly what you want to do, not just what’s most common throughout society. Plenty of occupations don’t need a bachelor’s, focusing instead on factors like your skills, certifications, or years of experience. Maybe you want to join the ranks of the professionals who install the best Knoxville replacement tubs, or a similar role. In plumbing and related careers, you’ll find that an apprenticeship is the primary requirement for your job search. An associate’s degree or community college degree can be an option for these jobs, and an advanced degree certainly won’t hurt. That being said, if you can enter your occupation of choice without a bachelor’s degree, it’s worth making sure you really want to attend a four-year college.

Consider your talents & interests.

Once you’ve confirmed that you want to get a bachelor’s degree, it’s time to put more concrete thought into your choice of major. If you already know the occupation you want to pursue after school, the choice might be particularly simple—you probably won’t enroll in a graphic design program if you’re hoping to enter the healthcare industry. On the other hand, if you’re not sure of your post-grad path, take some time to consider the talents, skills, and interests you already have. If you can spot a pair of Levi’s super skinny 710 from across a crowded store, maybe a career in fashion merchandising would fit into your future. Are you the go-to organizer, always managing plans with your family and friends? An administrator role could be the perfect fit. Spend some time figuring out what programs align with your interests, what career options sound like a good match, and which bachelor’s or advanced degrees these job opportunities will require.

Think of your intangible goals.

There’s no denying that it’s important to consider your future financial health as you consider your choice of college major. But looking only at the median annual wage or other monetary factors runs the risk of ending up in an occupation that builds wealth but offers little beyond that. A career in a healthcare setting might be secure but that’s not the only reason why you should get a healthcare degree. Consider the average salary of a job in the medical field, but keep in mind that healthcare professionals also get the chance to change and save lives. From a nurse practitioner to a healthcare manager, a healthcare career can be a rewarding work experience in terms of making an impact, not just a higher salary than some of your peers.

For many occupations, choosing the right college major is the first step towards the career path you’re dreaming of. It may not be the be-all-end-all of your future—there’s always room to change plans entirely—but, by giving you the skills, knowledge, and certification you need, the right major can lead you to a master’s degree, MBA program, or career field that will give you the salary you aspire to, fuel the passions you already have, and even make an impact on the world.

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