Having achieved my Associate of Arts degree in high school and remaining focused and driven through my undergraduate career, I am often asked how I chose my college major. Selecting a major isn’t always as easy as it may appear, especially when you start to think about what you want to do after college. It is suggested that you declare a major by the end of your sophomore year. So whether you’re an upperclassman at your high school, or a current college student, here are few tips that helped me with that infamous question 'what do you want to be when you grow up'.
Start off by thinking about what you like to do. Is there a class you favored over another one? What are your hobbies outside of the classroom? Growing up, I always enjoyed interacting with other people. My favorite classes in high school were english and chorus. I typically preferred working in groups, brainstorming and delegating specific tasks to members. So when it came time to choosing a major, I knew that a career hiding behind a computer screen all day wasn’t for me. I wanted to combine my customer service skills along with my passion for creativity.
Once you have an idea about your passions and interests, it’s time to review strengths/weaknesses. Of course, it’s always much easier to determine what your strengths are, but it’s just as important to reflect on your weaknesses. Be sure to take your time and stay true to yourself when creating this list. When something comes to mind, jot it down on a sheet of paper and add it to your list later. For example, one of my weaknesses was science. I always studied much more for biology, chemistry and physics. I often found myself participating in study sessions after school to prepare myself for exams and projects. So, while looking over majors, I was immediately able to cross out anything that would require numerous science courses.
Take the time to research careers that would match your interests, as well as your strengths. There are a variety of career assessment tools available to help narrow down your options. It’s ok to have a few majors selected that you can look into further. After taking a career assessment I decided that marketing, communications and finance were the three majors I was most interested in pursuing. In addition, I took a career exploration course at the community college to find other resources that would help me select one of these three. The course not only showed me career paths associated with the majors I was interested in, it also made me consider the work environment, education needed, salary, etc.
What opportunities will you have with a degree in this field? Is it a high demand industry? Will you need to pursue additional education after receiving a baccalaureate degree? These are all questions you need to take into account. For those interested in becoming a doctor or lawyer, you will need to pursue a higher degree. Other career paths may require you to have special certifications or licenses before receiving a job opportunity. Check out the costs of attaining higher education degrees and the time necessary to devote to school.
Talk about the majors that grab your attention with friends and family. Listen to their ideas and suggestions about career paths to consider and resources that might be helpful when making your decision. Keep in mind that your major doesn’t necessarily dictate what you are going to do with the rest of your life. Most will prepare you for a range of careers that can be tailored to your profession.
Although selecting a college major may seem a bit overwhelming, or even intimidating at times, remember to enjoy the journey. Only you can create your own destiny, so dream big!