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5 Tips to Help Choose Your College Major

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Just when you thought choosing the right college to attend was hard enough, now you must decide what you want to major in. There might seem like there are hundreds if not thousands of majors to sort through and not enough time to decide which one fits you.

All throughout high school it was “What college are you attending?” Now that you’re entering into college the question is “What are you majoring in?” Deciding on a major seems like the first step in adulthood where you’re figuring out what path you potentially want to take in regards to your career post-graduation. Deciding on a major can seem pretty overwhelming and stressful with so many majors to choose from.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2017 about 30% of undergraduates in associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs who had declared a major had changed it at least once. This goes to show that sometimes the major you “think” you want isn’t truly the right major for you. So how do you go about choosing the right major?

A college major can open doors into the workforce and begin to pave the way to high-paying jobs and a fulfilling career. Students should realize how majors can position them in their future workplace. Here are five things to focus on when making this decision.

1. What’s your passion?
Ever heard the phrase, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life?” This can happen if you consider what you’re passionate about before choosing a major. Figuring out your passion plays a big role in your decision. Passion, not profit, should drive your choice of a college major. If you know what yours is before you choose a college, all the better. Some schools have outstanding degree programs in certain fields, so if you know what you want to do, you can make the most of your education by choosing a school that specializes in that. There can be a lot of pressure from your family and even society on choosing a major focused on prestige and potential earnings, but if you’re not passionate about what you’re learning then it can make it hard to stay committed to that field of study.

2. Earning potential
Although it is important to focus on your passion, it is still important to consider the potential earnings someone can make within your field of study. Future earning potential is worth considering because college is a big investment. This might play a big part for students who might be paying their own way or taking out loans. They want to make sure they have the best return on their investment which yields high salaries. However, that six figure salary may not be worth it if you’re not happy at the office. It is always important to factor in earnings—after all, when you graduate you will have to support yourself and maybe make enough to pay off student loans too--but don’t let it overpower your quality of life.

3. Know how far your major will take you at the undergraduate level
This is an important tip to factor in regarding your major. You must research and understand if your major will require further education beyond an undergraduate degree. For instance, if you are getting into law or the medical field, you know there will be more education needed in your future. Take this into account and know what your major will lead to in the long run.

4. Your major is not your career
This point is something that college students tend to forget. The major you pick doesn’t determine your career and what you will make out of yourself once you graduate. Of course your major is a stepping stone used to guide you into the path you want to take after graduation, but what really matters are the skills you learn and develop during school and throughout your career.

5. It’s okay to be undecided
Some students feel the stress of having to declare their major as soon as they step on campus. This can be one of the biggest misconceptions with college. A lot of colleges don’t require students to have their prospective major chosen until the end of their sophomore year. This allows the students to explore various electives and get their general education courses out of the way. So if you aren’t sure what you want to major in just yet, it’s okay. Take a deep breath and explore your options while you can. Maybe those general education classes can help you decide where your interests and abilities lie.

Choosing a college major can be a stressful decision to make, but it is also a very personal one. This decision will allow you to maximize your personal growth throughout your college experience. Take time to research and educate yourself on the many college majors that are out there, especially the ones that are offered at your school of choice. Try to really get to know yourself and find what you’re passionate about. Most of all, remember that college is about finding what truly motivates you, so don’t stress out if it doesn’t come to you overnight. Take your time to find a major that you and your future self will thank you for later.

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