Choosing a major is one of the most important decisions you will make in college. For some students, this is an easy choice based on passion, skill or necessity. For others, it’s a less direct path that requires some research and reflection. By keeping your future career in mind, your major might choose itself for you!
Think about salary.
If you are driven to make a lot of money post-graduation, research lucrative career paths and find out what majors correlate to these jobs. According to a recent NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) survey, the highest paid majors of the 2011 graduating class were engineering (petroleum, chemical, computer, mineral) and computer science.
Think about jobs realistically.
Just because you major in something that could make you a lot of money, do not bank on jobs being available for that industry. The job market is very competitive these days; if you narrow your focus on one field and neglect taking courses outside of your chosen major, you simultaneously narrow your job opportunities. Be sure to take a few courses in school that make you a well-rounded applicant. Minors are excellent tools to add depth to your resume and display your knowledge in multiple fields.
Think about internships.
Internships are terrific testing tools. First, they allow you to test your major in a hands-on environment. No matter what your field of study, there is some form of internship out there for you. You can even look into internships outside your focus to boost your resume and gain great new experiences. If you are undecided, try an internship somewhere that just genuinely intrigues you. Perhaps it will sway you in a more specific direction.
Second, internships connect you to people who may be able to hire you in the future. Your co-workers and fellow interns will be contacts you can reference when you begin your job search. Many employers hire interns that perform well because they’ve built up a strong relationship and trust. Due to the competitive nature of the job market, skill alone may not earn you a position somewhere. It takes networking and time to make a strong impression. Start now!
Think about geography.
Are you willing to move for your job? Is there a specific city in which you dream of living? These factors may have a huge effect on what you study. Marine biology will certainly plant you along a coastline, while musical theater will plop you right in the middle of New York City. Consider where you may want to move after graduation when considering your major.
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