Choosing a major has always been something of a rite of passage for college students, and perhaps one of the biggest decisions a student can make after deciding where they want to go to college. But it can also be an incredibly stressful and daunting decision, fraught with considerations that often pin what you might want to do against what you and your family feel you should do. Although there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to making what is ultimately a complicated and multilayered personal decision, there are a number of considerations and guidelines that you can follow to help you make the best decision for your current situation, as well as your future career and academic ambitions.
Not sure what you want to do after college? The good news is that you are not alone. Statistics show that many people change jobs every two to three years and will likely have as many as two to three career changes over the course of their working lives.
As technology and automation become more and more prevalent and affect the job prospects across entire industries, and in the age of the “side hustle,” modern college students often have more at stake than previous generations.
Here are a few tips to help you get organized and weigh your options when deciding on a college major:
Depending on your situation, practical considerations like prospective salary, personal debt and student loans, location, industry, and your personal interests will all factor into your decision. Start with the obvious questions like where you would like to live after graduation, how much you will need to earn to meet your financial obligations and afford the cost of living, what the job prospects are in your chosen field, and whether you will need to get more education after you graduate. If you are not sure, make a list of your interests and subjects that you are curious about. You don’t have to figure it all out at once.
If you want to major in history or English but don’t want to be a teacher, researching potential career options for liberal arts majors can give you ideas about potential jobs and careers that you may not be aware of.
Take advantage of your school’s advisors and career counseling services to get the information you need to help you pick a major that is in line with your interests, passions and career goals after graduation.