Aisha C.

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How important is the degree you major in college ?

I'm a sophomore in high school and i really want to know how important the degree in college you major in is. #college #college-selection

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Pick your major carefully! The major you graduate with definitely matters a lot because of the different training you get and because of the signal it sends to prospective employers. When I was in college, about half of my courses were specific to my major (finance) or at least my academic department (business). If I had not taken finance as my major, I would not have been well prepared for my first job. The same is true for engineers (how can you expect to get a job as an engineer if you haven't been trained in the fundamentals of engineering), medicine, marketing, journalism, and so on. The second factor is just as important: signaling. If you're an employer looking through a ton of resumes to find someone to hire for a marketing role, you're going to start with the resumes that show candidates who majored in marketing. They obviously care enough about marketing to make it their major, and that's good for you as an employer. So it definitely matters what your major is.

Keep in mind that you can change your major while you're still in college, if you find that you're majoring in the wrong thing. I actually changed a couple of times. But because each major has different course requirements, it's okay to change in freshman or sophomore years, but it's very difficult to change in junior or senior years. You might not be able to complete all of the courses and you'll have to stay another year to complete the coursework, which is going to be expensive. So check out the major options before you select a school and try them all out as soon as possible. If you're unsure about which major to select, spend freshman year taking a course in every field you are curious about and declare your major in Sophomore year based on that experience and the job prospects unlocked by those majors.

Last updated Sep 09 '12 at 10:49

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certain careers are very dependent on education and certification, such as engineering, medical, etc, so if you plan to enter into those fields, picking a major is important. I would also add that the math and science careers are looking more and more for people with advanced degrees, so your undergraduate major is important.

The more social sciences like political science, sociology,history, criminology, pre-law, etc. are a little less reliant on specific degrees which is why liberal arts colleges require you to take a broad range of classes in various disciplines. Advanced degrees are also available in these areas but there is a little more flexibility in switching between disciplines than in say engineering or medicine.

All this being said, the most important thing is to do well in whatever field you choose and to get involved in extracurricular activities related to the work you would like to get into. Employers look for people who can set goals and achieve them and college is one of the first chances for young adults to demonstrate their ability to handle the rigor of completing tasks and assignments on time.

So don't fret if you choose a major and decide to switch, but try to do your best in all of your studies to demonstrate that while you are unsure what you want to do, you have the ability to do well in whatever you do.

Last updated May 05 '16 at 10:47

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I agree with the other responses, but I would like to add a little more to them. Something to keep in mind while your are still deciding in your first year of school is that in order to receive financial aid at some schools, you have to have a declared major program. The good news is, many schools offer an AGS or Associate of General Studies. This program allows you to build your own learning path without having to commit to one area. So a wise thing to do, in order to secure the financial aid, is to declare the AGS until you figure out what you are interested in enough to choose as an eventual career. One good way of learning what you might like to do is through internships. Some schools offer credit for an internship towards your degree, you gain valuable experience, and make important connections. I have personally scored two virtual internships (I work online) on Internships.com, which I see as a really excellent resource for students trying to connect with employers. Finally, if you are planning to transfer to a four-year college, try to declare your major as soon as possible so that you can build your long-term education plan to save you time, money, and effort.

Last updated Nov 06 '15 at 10:01

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On the one hand choosing a major is important as it will become part of your identity going forward. On the other hand, you can always go back to graduate school and gain further expertise. I am a big proponent of gaining as much education as possible in various fields. Take your time and try out classes from various disciplines to gain an understanding of what the field is about.

Another approach is to pick a destination. Once you've decided what you want to do/become (if you can do that) you can chart a specific path in that direction.

Last updated May 04 '16 at 14:40

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Pick it carefully! Honestly a lot of the times when leaving college sometimes you get people working in places that have nothing to do with their degree! When stepping into college be focused and goal oriented. Have a clear direction of what you want your degree in. Take personality tests, and research jobs to figure out your degree.

Last updated Feb 17 '16 at 23:06

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The major you receive in college is important as it impacts your ability to begin your career in your desired field. Anyone can get a job but a career in many fields begins with having the necessary educational background. From personal experience, in my career I use what I learned in graduate school in my daily work.

Last updated May 04 '16 at 18:54

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<span style="background-color: transparent;">Collegeboard.org is a great resource for this! I poured through the pages of universities all over the U.S. when I was a senior in high school. Collegeboard was my go-to site! They put all of the information in one place and it is very easy to use. They even have various filters you can apply to see only colleges that have programs you are interested. To determine academic rigor, look at the admissions requirements, G.P.A. of past admitted applicants, SAT/ACT scores, class rank etc. This will give you an idea of what scores and grades you need to be accepted. However, don't be discouraged your application will be reviewed based on the full picture! College-board will help you get an idea of what is most important to the specific school you are applying to.</span>


This professional recommends the following next steps:

  • <span style="background-color: transparent;">Chat with your Guidance Counselor</span>
  • <span style="background-color: transparent;">Create a Collegeboard.org account</span>
  • <span style="background-color: transparent;">Start using CollegeBoard as a resource to look up schools.</span>


Last updated Apr 04 at 13:52

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I agree with Tim. It can be very important for that first job or two but you will likely find what interests you will be different. When I was a senior in high school, area businesses got together with the senior classes of 3 of the local high schools to talk about college and careers. There 9 people from the local businesses on the panel. When the moderator stood at the podium to kick off the meeting, he turned to his colleagues and asked them to raise their hand if they were in the career they went to college for. Only 2 of the 9 raised their hands. I was shocked! But I went to college and yes, I'm doing something I didn't go to college for BUT I use what I learned in college often. So does the major really matter - in the short run I'd say yes. But in the big scheme of things, probably not and don't worry about it. Focus on what you love and want to do instead. The rest will follow.

Good luck!

Last updated May 11 '16 at 08:28

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