Did you know there are more than 1800 different college major options? So if you’re having a tough time picking your major, you’re not alone.
But as you know, it’s important to decide sooner than later so you can save valuable time and money.
For these reasons, we’ve created this guide outlining 6 key tips to choosing a college major in 2020. Keep reading to learn more.
1. Think About What You Like
First and foremost, when choosing a college major, think about what interests you. A foundational principle for any successful career is that you choose something you enjoy.
Some people can easily generate a list of potential college majors based on interests. Others might need a little more time to develop this type of list.
One way to do this is to make a list of 10 things you love to do. Don’t think of this in terms of college. Instead, simply list things you truly love to do.
From there, you’ll have a great resource to help you make a decision on a major. For example, if you listed the ocean and experiments, a degree in marine biology could be a great fit.
Another exercise you could try is making a list of your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you gravitate towards some major options while avoiding others.
Not great at math? A statistics major probably isn’t for you.
Strong in drawing and technology? Graphic or web design could be a great fit.
2. Take Some Career Tests
If you’re like most American students, people have been asking you what you want to be when you grow up since you were in elementary school. But have you taken a career test recently with the intent of choosing your major? If not, this is a great way to gain some additional insight.
There are lots of these online. You can also often find options through your university.
As you answer questions, you’ll receive a report that outlines the types of careers that best fit your personality. For example, you could find out your preferences for working with things, data, people, or ideas.
These tests offer an unbiased look at your future that can be really helpful.
3. Evaluate Your Core Values
Next, it’s time to consider your core values. What types of things truly matter to you? When you can enter a career that closely aligns with your values, this has a high chance of leading to great success.
And on the other hand, if you pick a major that clearly goes against your beliefs and values, you’re going to struggle.
For example, are you passionate about human rights? A career in social work, law, or humanitarian service could be a great path.
Or maybe you support abortion and women’s reproductive rights. A super conservative organization probably wouldn’t be the right fit for your career.
Perhaps you truly value earning a certain salary. There’s nothing wrong with that. If that’s the case, you’ll know which types of fields to focus on.
4. Counsel with Advisers and Other Professionals
College advisers are an incredible resource. And frankly, many students don’t utilize them as much as they should.
Your adviser has helped tons of students who are in a similar situation as you. They’ve helped people decide between major options, find the best classes to take, and help connect you with professional organizations in your area of choice.
They can also be a great source of general information about programs as you’re trying to choose a major.
Here are some things you could ask your counselor:
- Can you help me connect with recent graduates in my field?
- Which teachers do you think will best connect with my learning style?
- Do we have any career fairs coming up?
- Can you help me take a career test to determine my interests?
Another pro tip: try to connect with professionals in your industry. They’ll be able to help you understand the career path you’ll take and give you insight into the daily life in that field.
5. Take Some Introductory Classes
You’re really interested in 3 different majors, but they’re all super distinct. You have no idea which one to choose.
To help you make your decision, take some introductory classes in these various fields of study. This will help you try majors on for size without having to make a big commitment. This is especially great advice for college freshmen who are still at the beginning of their collegiate journey.
And when you decide on what program to join, these other introductory courses will likely count as elective credit.
6. Consider Degree Requirements
Last but not least, before you make your final decision, think about the different requirements for degrees.
For example, to be a lawyer, you’ll need a Master’s degree and sometimes a PhD. Want to be a doctor? Say hello to 10+ years of school.
Other programs only take 2 or 4 years, but these almost always pay less than degrees like law and medicine.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t work your way up to a great living with a Bachelor’s degree.
Choosing a College Major: Now What?
There you have it: 6 key tips to choosing a college major. Now that you’ve read through these ideas, it’s time to consider your current situation.
Figure out where you are on the path to deciding on a major and then go from there. In no time, you’ll be on the road to success.
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