03 December 2012

Choosing the Best Major

There are few decisions more important than the major that you choose in college. While not everyone will ultimately end up using the major that they choose in their career endeavors, that is the ideal path to having a long, fruitful, and lucrative career in the field that interests you most. Having a degree that is relevant to the jobs that you want makes you appear experienced, intelligent, able to finish what you start, and just generally makes you a far better candidate than those without specialized knowledge. In this economy, you really can’t afford not to make yourself as promising a prospect as possible, and that means getting the right degree in the right major.

If you’re completely at a loss as to what you’d like to major in, there are many different tools that can help you to decide. There are a wide array of college preparatory courses and tests available, all of which are designed to help you determine your strengths and weaknesses and what jobs you would most likely be suited to. Also consider what subjects you enjoyed and/or did the best in during your high school years, as this can provide clues as to smart majors for you. Talking to a college or career counselor can also be a good move, particularly if you’re struggling to make a choice between several different options.

Be sure to at least give some consideration to the realities of the labor market. Although nearly all of us would prefer to pursue our passions vocationally, this turns out to be impossible in many, if not the majority, of cases. Do not exclusively focus on yourself, but also consider larger societal trends: what services are likely to be in great demand in the near future? What products are likely to rise in popularity? These considerations are undoubtedly important for your analysis.

Career tests, also known as aptitude tests, ask you basic questions about your strengths and weaknesses and seek to get an overall view of your personality. These tests then tabulate this information to list several potential careers and/or majors that could be good options for you. While you should take these results with a  grain of salt—after all, you know yourself better than some test does—the results can provide a wonderful jumping-off point and give you some choices to consider. They are also good indicators of the areas in which you’ll have the most successes career-wise and feel the most personally satisfied.

Likewise, college counselors are a great way to talk with someone in the know. A college counselor will know your past grades and will be able to help you find and apply to the schools that are the most likely to accept you. Your counselor can also explain what is required of different majors and for different career paths, such as how much schooling you’ll ultimately need. You can also discuss possible financial aid options and any special concerns you may have, such as seeking accommodation for a learning or other disability. Remember that your quest to obtain a high quality post-secondary education involves many things which are totally new and potentially intimidating: it’s important to take advantage of every resource available, and guidance counselors are excellent resources for shedding light on otherwise unfamiliar territory.

While preparing for college, you’ll want to take steps to make your college application as strong as possible. After all, you can’t earn a degree in any major if you can’t get into college. In addition to doing your best to make good grades and doing well on the SAT or ACT, you’ll want to show involvement in extracurricular activities and/or volunteer work. It’s also a wise idea, even after you’ve been accepted, to seek relevant internships, as these can give you a further leg up when you start applying for jobs. You may also want to try working a few small part-time jobs or gigs to learn more about your own strengths and the type of work you enjoy best. Finally, give the college experience your all! You will be meeting new and different people and growing into who you were meant to be and learning what you were meant to do. College is challenging, often intimidating, and most of all extremely rewarding opportunity: you will start to develop a sense of genuine independence and freedom which, if crafted properly, can propel you toward a rich and satisfying post-collegiate adult life.

This article was composed by Ty Whitworth for the team at Keiser University; be sure to view their Online Information Technology Associate Degree as well as other degrees.


Emma | iHELP Student Loans said...

"Be sure to at least give some consideration to the realities of the labor market." This is my favorite tip. Obviously, it's best to combine a potentially lucrative major with your passion, but whatever you do, the reality of later finding a job should not be ignored.

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