Choosing a major is a big deal. It will determine your career path and future life decisions. But choosing a major often sounds much harder than it is. Many people get overwhelmed due to the number of decisions that need to be made to start your journey to getting a college degree.
You must choose which school to attend and how to attend, either online or on-campus. You must choose if you will attend part-time or full-time. You must decide how you will pay for college and whether attending classes will affect your lifestyle.
If you break down the process of choosing a major into small steps, you are likely to find it easier to narrow down your options.
Below are some of these small steps. They will help you focus on more than just a major that sounds okay. They will help you dig deep and search for answers that may help you avoid wasting time in the wrong degree program.
Recognizing your natural talents is one way to help you when choosing a major. You want to pick an area in which you can use your talents in some way. When you are already good at something, learning and growing becomes easier.
To find your innate talents, make a list of your strengths. Think of all the times that people have complimented you on a task you completed or something you achieved. For example, your teacher told you many times that you are a good writer. This is a sign that you have a natural writing talent.
There are many employers, in many different fields, looking for people with great writing skills.
Interests and Passions
Combined with your natural talents, your interests and passions should be considered. Interests can be the things you enjoy doing in your spare time. Consider hobbies and activities you feel drawn to do because they make you feel good.
Interests leave you feeling positive and happy. When you are finished doing something and you say to yourself, “I’d like to do that again” is an interest.
Your passions are things you feel drawn to do to serve others or make a difference in your community or in society. Passions drive you to help making someone else’s life better. Some people are passionate about supporting literacy, others want to improve situations for the homeless.
Passions can be based on your personal missions for living.
Once you have established your passions, interests and talents, it’s important to try and match those with a degree program that has potential for long-term stability and growth in the market. You do not want to choose a degree program that will lead to a career that may fade out after a decade.
Research jobs through the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, or interview individuals in different industries to gain enough knowledge regarding stability in your field or fields of interest.
Wages and Salaries
You will put in a lot of effort and time obtaining your college degree. You are deserving of a job that pays you the wages and salary that meet the lifestyle you wish to live.
Take into consideration what a job will pay before you choose a degree path. You may say that money is not the most important factor. However, in ten years from now you may have a different outlook. So, it is best to at least consider a degree program that will allow your finances to grow as you grow.
Time You Want to Spend in College
There are many degree program paths today. Some choose to attend a two-year or associate degree program. Others choose to get a four-year, or bachelor’s degree, and some continue an additional year or two to acquire a master’s level degree.
Today, many local colleges offer fast-tracking training and certificate programs that last less than a year and get you into the workforce the quickest.
Once you decide how long you want to be in school, you can begin searching programs that match your interests, talents, passion and salary expectations.
The list of options should be narrowed down at this point. To further narrow it, look at the cons of each degree program and the careers associated with them.
You have likely already looked at the pros of the jobs and degree programs you are considering. Looking at the cons is just as important when trying to make a big decision.
Weighing the cons against the pros can speed up your decision making. What are the disadvantages and advantages of each potential degree program? What aspects pop out that make you grimace or think to yourself, “that is not what I want to do”?
Once you have thoroughly analyzed the cons, compare them to the pros. Do the pros make it easier to accept a negative factor? Or is there not a fair trade off between the two? When the cons outweigh the pros, your decision just became easier.
Who Can Help You?
Another positive step you can implement when choosing a major is to reach out to the professionals who can help guide your decision. Academic and career counselors have many tools and assessments that can help you narrow down your number of options.
Assessments take information based on your interests, passions and talents and develop several areas of degree interests that match your data.
You can also reach out to professionals already working in the field. Interview them to see they like their job and which degree did they obtain to help them reach their career goal.
In conclusion, there are many steps you can take when choosing a major that can help you develop a great list of guidelines. You will also learn a lot more about yourself, your dreams and your goals.
These are all characteristics to keep in mind when sorting through the many degree programs. They can help you narrow your options and eventually arrive at the perfect degree program for you.