Many high school students wonder about what to study in college. They ask themselves what degree will interest me? Which major will lead to a good job? What concentration should I choose once I’m accepted? After choosing your school, picking a major is one of the most important choices you’re going to have to make in college. Many students have almost no idea what they’re getting into when they declare a major. To help you be an informed student, here are 8 questions to ask yourself:
1. Why am I interested in this major? Most students pick a major because someone else (ie: a family member) think it’s not a bad idea or worse. Your best friend thinks it’s easy enough. But you should also know what you value. Are your values personal, parental, cultural, theological or financial? It’s also important to do self-exploration and your interest should not be because your parents want you to make lots of money or because they majored in it and want you to follow in their footsteps.
2. Have I done research about this major and know what the requirements are? When you think about some majors they sound like fun, but you quickly realize what it takes and you begin to change your mind. You should ask yourself am I willing to put all the work that it takes to be successful in this major. It is also important to research the job market for the specific major you choose. Also thinking through some of the mundane tasks you may need to do on a daily basis. Some majors lead to jobs that will always be in demand: such as education, nursing and criminal justice. Others may require grads to continue onto a master’s degree level.
3. Is the college that I will attend strong in this major? Take a look at the alumni profiles and achievements within their respective fields as well as the professors published works and experience. If you haven’t used Linked In, open an account. This social network collects data on colleges and their alumni. You can really see who graduates with what degree and where they work. Also look to see what internships and job placements are offered for that major.
4. What are the career opportunities for this major? After graduating will you be able to get an entry level job. Is their mobility in this industry? Basically is there room for you to grow and to advance? Also consider the financial rewards (bonuses, pay increases, mobility and prestige)
5. Is this the right-and-only-major for my career path? Students usually make the mistake thinking that there is only way. For example, to become a lawyer you do not need a pre-law degree. You can take Political Science, English or Criminal Justice. To become a doctor you do not need to a pre-med degree. You can major in History, English, Psychology, etc. and just take the science courses needed to get into medical school.
6. Have I talked with someone about this major? You should think about job shadowing and or volunteering. Job shadowing allows you to observe professionals on the job and get insight into the practical side of a particular career. Certain employers, like hospitals, schools, police departments and non-profit organizations are often happy to have volunteers. Volunteering gets you exposed to different work environments.
7. Would I be good in this major? You should know your strengths and weaknesses as well as understand the difference between passion vs. gifting. There are also tests you can take like the Myer Briggs Type Indicator or Strong Interest Inventory.
8. Is this the right time to declare a major? Don’t feel rushed! Majority of college students today change their majors a few times. You should definitely take the core classes as you continue your career and major exploration.
We hope this gives you better insight into college and choosing a major. Remember that this process takes time and you have the right to ask questions. Need more information? Feel free to contact us with your questions. We’re always available here on the New York City campus or on the Rockland campus.