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How do you decide what major you want to do?

I'm graduating class of '21 and I still haven't decided if I actually wanted to go to college. I like to do Interior Design but I'm starting to think that it's just a hobby. #interior-design #design #interior-decorator #interior

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John’s Answer

Tawnyce choosing a major is one of the first big independent decisions of your academic life. Most likely your parents have hammered into you, choosing a major in college is an important decision. It's important to listen to your parents' concerns and advice. However, it's important for you to remember it's ultimately your major. You will have to do the work and ultimately leverage that major as you transition into the workforce. The first thing to consider when picking a major is what you like to do. By the time you graduate high school you’ll have enough information and experience from your classes to figure out what you might or might not be interested in pursuing.


• LIST 10 THINGS YOU LOVE – Listing what you love doing, both inside or outside the classroom, is a great way to see possible paths you can take. If you enjoy art and drawing but you’re also interested in technology, consider majoring in graphic design. If you’re into business and traveling, investigate majoring in international business.

• STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES – Figuring out your strengths and weaknesses can help you assess what kind of major to go into. For example, if public speaking isn’t really your thing, you might want to avoid majors that could lead to careers like being a news anchor or spokesperson. You can also take your weaknesses and build on them in college. If public speaking is something you want to improve, go ahead and take a speech class. You might love it!

After digging into what you’re interested in and potential careers options, it’s time to think about your goals and your future career—and how easy or how hard it might be to find employment. If you have a specific career goal in mind, you might need to pick your major or program in advance, sometimes as early as when you’re applying to college. It’s also good to know what degree you’ll need for the field that interests you.

• ASSOCIATE DEGREE – The two-year associate of arts (AA) or associate of science (AS). Some students who earn this degree transfer to a four-year bachelor’s program; others use it to go straight to work. Community colleges, career colleges, and some four-year colleges offer associate degrees.

• BACHELORS DEGREE – This degree requires completing a four college program. Most students earn a bachelor of arts (BA) or bachelor of science degree (BS). You can also study toward a bachelor of fine arts or bachelor of architecture degree.

• GRADUATE DEGREE – Graduate degrees are advanced degrees pursued after earning a bachelor’s degree. Examples are a master of arts (MA) or master of science (MS). Students generally earn a master’s degree after two years of study. A doctoral degree (for example, a PhD) requires four or more years of study.


• ADVISERS – The best source of college advice is your school counselor. They’ve helped lots of students who are making the same decisions you are. Your school counselor can tell you more about college majors and program offerings.

• PROFESSIONALS – You can also reach out to professionals working in the field you’re interested in. They can talk to you about how they got from college to where they are now. Whether they’re your parents, guardians, family members, or people you interact with professionally, set up a time to interview them. Be prepared with a set of questions to ask.

A bachelor's degree in interior design is recommended for entry-level positions. These undergraduate programs place heavy emphasis on studio work. Students should expect to take drawing, 2-D design and 3-D design, including learning CAD software. Additional core coursework in an undergraduate program might include building compliance, sustainable technology and design theory, such as topics in environmental design. The work completed in a 4-year interior design program leads to building a portfolio and fulfilling an interior design internship. An interior designer might be self-employed or work for a design or architectural firm. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates the average Interior Designer III salary in the United States is $59,000 as of June 28, 2020, but the range typically falls between $50,900 and $72,000. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

Hope this was Helpful Tawnyce

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Alison’s Answer

Hi Tawnyce,

A lot of people struggle with that “I don’t know what I want to be” feeling - even adults who have been working for years! The fantastic thing about where you are right now, though, is that you have choices, and there’s not really a wrong answer yet (mostly).

If you think you might like design, try to find a way to check it out before you declare it as your major. You can look for internships or volunteer work, try to find someone who works in the field that would let you shadow them for a day or so, or reach out to see if you could interview someone about their job to get more information. Any of those kinds of things will help you figure out if you want design in your life as a career or just a hobby.

Now, the big one: to college or not to college? Your career choices will be much more limited without some sort of college degree, so at some point in your life, I suggest choosing college. You do not have to declare a major right away. You can use your first few terms to explore core classes and different electives to find out what really interests you. You can take full advantage of the college experience by joining clubs, using the resource centers, and even just talking with other students to experience new things and explore what you might want to do in life.
Or, you could take a gap year. Gap years are more common for European students, but they’re becoming a little bit more popular in the US right now. Taking a gap year means taking a year off from school after you graduate high school. You use that year to work and/or volunteer in whatever area seems interesting to you. After having that time to focus a little more on the non-school-life world and explore some of your interests, you start college the following year. Most students find that by the time the gap year is done, they’re able to enter college with a little more confidence in their direction. However, it is really important that if you do take a gap year, you use your time wisely. Taking a year off to watch Netflix on the couch with your dog will not help you. Get out into the world and see what it’s like! Explore what you might want your life to be, and maybe even earn a little money.

Finally, take some time before any of this to talk to your guidance counselor or a trusted teacher at school, and - yes - your parents. And then make sure to give yourself at least a few quiet moments to reflect on it on your own too. Remember, a year from now, if you feel like you made the wrong choice, you can change it!

You’ll figure it all out in time.

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Brent’s Answer

I would highly recommend getting some variety of additional education after high school. That could be a 4-year Bachelor’s degree from a university/college, a 2-year Associates degree from a community college, some tradesperson training, or similar. Interior Design is definitely a real career, especially if you pursue some technical skills such as learning how to use AutoCAD. Commercial interior design firms work on all sorts of projects — restaurants, hotels, Senior Housing, office buildings, custom homes, etc. Residential interior designers work on custom homes, personal offices, as well as for construction material/product companies (e.g. cabinetry companies, lighting retail stores, etc.).

Brent recommends the following next steps:

Learn AutoCAD at your local community college
Take the SATs/ACTs
Apply to schools
Graduate from High School
Have a great education and career

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Kiirsten’s Answer

Hello Tawnyce!

Awesome job so far on pushing through school for the past decade of your life! I wasn't too sure about going to college at first, because I was scared to leave my parents-- but I found out how to grow and be my own person once I ended up going to my school (Florida State University).

At the end of the day, going to higher education will be your decision, but I can personally tell you that it was one of the best decisions of my life. There were times when I didn't know what major I wanted (started in Communications, then went to Humanities, then ended up in Hospitality and Tourism Management haha), but it's all about figuring out who you are and what you like. I have several interior designer friends, one who is actually going through a Masters for it!

The first couple of years of college, classes are all introduction classes, so if you'd like to save money on the basic classes, community colleges are a great route to go.