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How to double major?

I'm a CareerVillage staff member and I'm posting this because we know that many young people are looking for the answer to this question. This is among the most popular questions searched by youth, and we're hoping you will take a moment to share your response to it. Thank you! #college #college-major #college-majors

Things you can consider for this specific question...
What is the process of choosing two majors?
What steps are there to double major?
How did you go about choosing two majors?
Why did you double major?
Why would you consider not double majoring?


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Julia’s Answer

Hi Jordan,


I double majored in Finance and Information Systems (I.S.). I had an interest in both areas, and knew both could lead to interesting careers. In college I interned at PwC (now my full-time job), and learned that the firm had opportunities that involved both of these areas as well. These were key drivers in my decision to double major. At my college, both Finance and I.S. were majors offered through the business school. So once I applied to the business school, I didn't have to separately apply for the second major. Also, the I.S. program at my school was small, and was a popular option to double major with. The process of double-majoring is not always so "easy," so it is important for students to seek guidance throughout the process.


I would advise most students to see an academic advisor in each of the areas/majors the student is interested in. They will be able to provide advice based on their experience, and will usually help the student ensure they can double major and stay on track for graduation. Depending on the major, the student will have to apply to the major and be accepted, which is a unique process that varies major to major. Again, the key is to work with an academic advisor throughout the process to guide them.


I would emphasize to any student wanting to double major to:

  1. Make sure both majors compliment each other -or-
  2. If the majors don't compliment each other, make sure that they both interest you
  3. Be sure that both options aren't terribly difficult. For example: Computer Science and Pre-Med? Maybe not the best idea! You want to be able to balance all of your course work, and also graduate in time.
  4. Don't double major just because you think it'll double your chances of being hired! Only do this if it will you genuinely want to study more than one area and will be happy doing so.



I noticed this question is asked a lot, so I hope this helps. Thanks for posting!




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Ken’s Answer

One major? Two majors? What major? What minor? These are very important questions and the answers are individual to each person and depend on how their personality traits relate to their career area and what their aspirations are in their chosen career field. The answers are found in getting to know oneself better and engaging in face to face interactions, visitations, shadowing, and discussions with people who are doing what one thinks that one might want to do.


Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many 

Ken recommends the following next steps:

The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
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Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
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Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
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It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
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Catherine’s Answer

Colleges are the time to try things. Sometimes there will be a great fit and sometimes you will need to adjust along the way. I started off college with a double major in Computer Science & Chemistry. Both were part of the Science program. I did run into a few class conflicts along the way but overall, I had more than enough opportunity to explore both paths. In the end, I ended up dropping Chemistry and focusing solely on the Computer Science side as that ended up really being my calling.
So go in with an open mind and don't be shy to use the resources available (college career counsellors, teachers, teacher assistants, ...) to have conversations about what is going well and what is not so that you can make adjustments along the way and find your true calling.

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