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what should my major be?

I'm graduating in a year and I have no idea what to do #choosing-a-major


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Dan’s Answer

In choosing a major I would follow 3 questions:

  1. What am I passionate about? In other words, what subject/industry do I currently have an opinion towards OR really want to learn about because it's interesting to me. You never want to major in something that does not connect to you on a personal level.
  2. What are the career outcomes from a major? Speak with a career counselor or a department head to see what jobs students of this major typically go into after graduation. If salary is important to you, then find out the average salary out of school AND what do the top players in this field make yearly on average
  3. Who are the professors, programs, and opportunites that your school provides to the majors you find intersting. Some schools are not as strong in particular majors, so you want to be sure that there are renowned proferssors, highly ranked programs, and opportunities for extra curricular (groups, abroad traveling, and networking alumni groups) that align to a major you're interested in.

Hope this helps!

Dan recommends the following next steps:

narrow down potential majors to a list of 3-5 then do the research above

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Neel’s Answer

Hi Micaela,

Thanks so much for your question about choosing a major! It's definitely a heavy decision to make, considering that it has an impact on job prospects and things of that nature after college, as well as the course of study you'll be pursuing for your time in college. Some things to consider when choosing your major include:


  1. Is there a certain field of study that interested you in high school?
  2. Were there areas that you didn't particularly enjoy in high school? If you enjoyed the subject matter but not the teacher, it could be worthwhile to take a class in that discipline in college to get a fresh perspective on what the field is all about.

A piece of advice that a professor gave me once is that your major should align with the subject you're "willing to work hardest in." That really stuck with me, and I hope it helps you too!


Neel recommends the following next steps:

Check out this website for more detailed information on majors! : https://collegemajors101.com/

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Lauren’s Answer

I think there may be two questions that are going on - the first is, "What should my major be?" and the second is, "What do I want to do with my degree in XX as a career?".

I think both Dan and Kurt's answers are spot on, but let me share my experience. I majored in Sociology because I was really interested in the group dynamics and the motivations behind actions taken. To be honest, there weren't many potential roles out there that screamed, "you need a sociology degree to qualify." To Kurt's point however, I was pretty good at communicating and seemed to have a knack for understanding group motivations, which is how I started along my path to Marketing. I took an internship to understand more about the discipline of marketing, and then slowly began gaining more experience in the field.

The bottom line: choose a major on a subject that you're interested in or passionate about; see how you can apply the broad concepts of your major to different types of job functions and then investigate those further. You don't have to be permanently wed to a career track - the important part is to continue learning and growing and finding passion in the work you do. Good luck in both determining your major and in your future career, whatever you may choose!


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Britt’s Answer

Good question - and honestly, the answer is typically "What do you find engaging?" I have counseled a number of students who were told by family members that they need to get a degree in X to "get a good job." But, as another poster has said, unless you have a very specific career path, often that is not the case. I have degrees in Medieval Studies and English. I work currently as an escrow specialist in a large bank. There is really no overlap there. But one of the things a college degree nurtures in students is the ability to look at problems critically and apply solutions creatively.

So, major in the subject that drives you. If that is nursing, then that's fantastic! If that is dance, then that is also fantastic! Completing a degree program, regardless of the program, is often the more important factor for landing that career. (And even that is not a hard rule.) But forcing yourself into a major that does not excite you and not completing the degree is not typically a great idea.

The other thing to consider is "Where do I go to school?" If you are not sure what major will fire your spirit, or you are "meh" about majors, you might wish to consider a liberal arts or broad spectrum education. You will have the opportunity to take a wide variety of courses and you may find out that botany is the most exciting subject that you've ever encountered.

If you are just on the fence about higher education, majors, or life goals (and honestly, many of us were when considering going to college, or even still are!), consider going to a community college. These are a great opportunity to get some of those general education requirements completed for a four year institutions. Frequently the class sizes are considerably smaller and you will be able to get the one-on-one attention from the instructor for those subjects in which you might struggle. Many states have a free tuition policy for community colleges, which means you could be saving several thousand dollars while working out what you want to do. Most four year colleges will accept transfer credits from community colleges and the academic services center at the CC should be able to tell you how their credits transfer to other colleges in that geographic area pretty easily. (If you are in Connecticut, for example, and are thinking about finishing up at a State University, there's a handy online calculator.)

Ultimately, the major that you choose is less about what you will end up doing with your life and more about your passions now. I know art majors who are now IT security experts and office administrators, some very fine English majors ended up as lawyers....or you could specialize in medieval architecture and end up in banking!

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Marisa’s Answer

I think your focus should be on what you enjoy, what brings you passion. You'll be working for a long time - you want to love what you do. That's more important than the major. Sure, you want to choose a major that fits around your work, but you have to focus on the things that are important now - what brings you joy? Also, consider what companies look for - self starters, relationship building, sales, etc. Best of luck to you!

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Kurt’s Answer

Unless you have a specialized degree, Accounting or Law as examples, I think the type of degree is overrated.


the important thing is to get a degree from a qualified college or university, learn to communicate effectively, and then determine you’re going to persevere and be successful in any endeavor you decide on.


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Marisa’s Answer

I think your focus should be on what you enjoy, what brings you passion. You'll be working for a long time - you want to love what you do. That's more important than the major. Sure, you want to choose a major that fits around your work, but you have to focus on the things that are important now - what brings you joy? Also, consider what companies look for - self starters, relationship building, sales, etc. Best of luck to you!

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