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Top 10 Tips to Help you Choose a College Major

Written by: Lindsay Shugerman

August 29, 2011
Filed Under Education 


Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

How to choose a college major
Remember when you were a little kid and tried to imagine what you would be when you grew up?

Well, that time has arrived. And the first step in your journey is to choose a college major. But how do you begin? There are so many choices in your college catalog!

While you could just throw darts, there are better ways to pick the right major — here are our top 10 tips to help you narrow the field.

10. Think about high school classes

What classes did you enjoy the most? What subjects got you excited, kept you interested? This isn’t about what was easy … it’s about what you loved learning.

9. The books you couldn’t put down

What kinds of books keep you reading well into the night? Are they a certain genre? Or are they typically set in a certain location or time period? Think about what they have in common … this could be a clue to your ideal major.

8. The kinds of movies you love

Like the books you enjoy most, the genre and subject matter of the movies you watch again and again can hold a clue to choosing a college major that will lead to the right career.

For instance, if you’re drawn to mysteries, consider a major that involves assembling clues, like archeology or medicine. Love sci fi thrillers? Maybe a major in engineering or another technological field would be a good choice.

7. Look at aptitude test results

Many schools offer aptitude tests to their students. If you’ve taken any of these, or if you took the military’s ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Test), the results can offer good information about what majors would be a good match to your abilities.

6. Consider your values

Think about your values when you’re trying to choose a college major. Do you have your heart set on making the world a better place? Majors in the life sciences, psychology or ecology might be good choices.

If you think the arts are the most valuable part of life, perhaps a major in music, museum management or theatre would be the right option when you choose course of study.

5. Look at predicted job growth

Sure, some people never use their major in their future jobs. But having an idea about what kinds of jobs you can expect to find on graduation day is a valid way to choose a college major. If your first choice is in a field that’s unlikely to be around much longer, look for related majors with more growth opportunity.

4. What’s so hard about that?

Is there something you think is a breeze, but others find difficult? That natural talent is a clue that could lead to picking a college major that will be just right for you.

3. How long can you stay in school?

While it would be wonderful to have all the time in the world to study and learn, today’s economic reality means that many students need to select a major that will lead to a job in a couple of years. If the major you’ve selected requires a masters for employment, make sure you have the time and money to stay the course.

2. Think about your career goals

If your plans call for grad school, you may need to choose a college major that makes it easier to get into the graduate or professional program you want.

1. What else do you want in life?

There’s more to life than a career. Before you choose a major, think about the other pieces of your life. Do you want a family? Do you have plans for volunteer activities or do you love the idea of travel?

Make sure you include all of your life plans in the equation when you choose you college major.

Relax – there are do overs!

And if you get it wrong? No problem. Changing your major is as simple as putting something new in the “Choose college major” box on your next registration form.

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