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Choosing the Right Major: 5 Factors to Consider

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So you’ve made the big decision of going to college. Your next big decision is just around the corner—picking your major. Choosing a major isn’t something to take lightly. Not only will it determine how you’re going to spend your whole college life, but it might decide your future career as well. Deciding on a major is a huge decision, and it’s normal to feel lost or confused.

There are many factors you have to take into consideration when choosing the right major. Provided that money isn’t a problem for you, here are five things to help you decide which course to take.

1. Your Interests

What kind of things do you like to do or are interested in? Do you enjoy working on math problems, experimenting with chemistry, or drawing and designing? Do you like to write, act in plays, or make movies or videos? Your interests can be one of the biggest deciders on what you want to major in. Ask yourself what you’re passionate about, what brings you the most joy, and if you can apply that same passion and joy towards your work.

If you pick a major specializing in something you love doing, the coursework and the classes can be more interesting, which can help you pay attention in class and be more productive. After all, who wants to spend four to five years doing something they don’t like? Of course, this comes with the risk of turning what you love and are passionate about into a chore or a job. But it’s not good to only consider the practical options either. In the end, doing something you like will still help to ease the burden of the work, and who knows, you might even enjoy the challenge!

2. Your Job Options

It’s all well and good to pick something you’d enjoy doing, but it’s also worth considering what kind of jobs will be available to you after graduation. Depending on your degree and the skills you learn, some higher-paid jobs may or may not be available to you. If you prefer to look at the practical side of things, consider which majors lead to the most profitable careers.

For example, majoring in healthcare and medicine can lead to a fruitful career as a doctor. IT, computer engineering, and other technology-based majors are other options that can lead to high-paying jobs, especially with the post-pandemic focus on technology and digitalization. Of course, there are no guarantees as to which majors can get you the best jobs. But from an entirely practical standpoint, you might want to consider how broad and varied your job options will be for a certain major, as well as how much those jobs pay.

3. Your College or University Options

For others, the location of their college or university of choice can make all the difference. If you don’t want to move across the country or only want to live at least a state away from home, finding a college or university near you can be your best option. Other than location, you also have to consider what that college specializes in or what majors they offer on campus. Some colleges might only focus on one particular area, while more prominent colleges and universities might offer an array of courses.

You should also consider what kind of resources the college offers. Does it have a big and beautiful campus? An extensive library? How good are their dormitories? Do they have any other amenities specific to your course, such as a computer or medical lab? What about cultural buildings, like a theater or auditorium? And more than physical resources and amenities, what about scholarships and financial aid?

Your choice of college or university can affect your whole future. Some jobs might be more amenable to hire you if you come from a reputable college offering a higher quality learning experience than others. Whatever the case, your college of choice should also factor into your choice of major.

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4. The Duration of Your Course

Most degrees require only three or four years to complete, while others might take up to five or six years. For example, both med and law school require you to take a four-year undergraduate degree in a similar course or field before you can apply for them, and when you do get in, it usually takes three to four years to get your medicine or law degree. And still, other undergraduate courses can take up to five years alone.

Be sure that you know just how many years a specific major will take to complete and how many years you can afford or will be willing to dedicate to that course. If you plan to major in something that can take more than four years, such as medicine, be well aware of all existing conditions and your own limitations.

5. Your Study Load

Other than the number of years, you should also consider the amount of work it will take. Does it require an undergraduate thesis or dissertation? Do you have on-the-job training? What kind of projects will you be required to make, or what kind of reports and papers will you have to write? Consider what type of work a course entails and what resources you have at your disposal.

For example, architecture students are often required to carry around tools like T-squares, compasses, maybe a drafting board. They will also need a working PC that can run programs like CAD. Think about what you already have, what you can afford to buy, how much money you’d be willing to spend on any additional requirements, and how much time you prefer to dedicate to schoolwork.

Conclusion

Every major comes with its own challenges and advantages. A major is neither guaranteed to be smooth nor completely difficult. The choice is entirely up to you—what you’re willing to do, how much you’re willing to spend, and what you want for prospects. Remember that you can always switch majors in the future if you realize that the one you picked first isn’t turning out very well. There’s no shame in switching majors or in graduating late. Just like choosing your major, it’s all up to you.