Posts Tagged ‘choosing a major’
In your quest to find your perfect college match, you’ve considered your major, the distance it is from home, the number of people from your high school going there, the food, its appearance, the cleanliness of the bathrooms, whether or not you’ll have to take a gym class, and a hundred other pieces of criteria! It’s a big decision, so there’s a lot to think about! Have you considered what college will do the best job at preparing you for your career? Check out these ways you can verify that the college you’re choosing has what it takes to actually get you a job!
The Reputation of the Program
Once you’re sure a college has your major, you’ll want to find out more about the program and its alumni. How popular is this major on campus? What percentage of its graduates are able to find a job in that major? What do the students currently enrolled in the program think? How long has the major existed on campus? Who’s teaching the classes? The more you can find out about your future program online and through the college, the better. If your program has been around for a while, is gaining popularity, and has accomplished individuals teaching new information, that’s a good sign!
The Relevancy of the Program
The job market is different than it was twenty, or even just ten years ago, and with technology constantly changing, you’ll want a program that’s adjusting their coursework so they’re ahead of the game! As an education major, you don’t want to learn the art of overhead transparencies. You want to learn how to use multi-media in the classroom, and how to look for signs of bullying. As a creative writer, you don’t want a heavy emphasis on the classics. You want to learn how to produce and market work in today’s writer’s market! Make sure the school you choose has a program that knows how to adequately prepare students for today. A quick look at the required courses and syllabi are often enough to get a few clues!
The Opportunities Given to You
When looking at a perspective program, look for what the college has to offer that other colleges don’t. What opportunities does this program give you that will better prepare you for a job than other programs? Will you get the chance to create a documentary your sophomore year as a film major? Will you be asked to observe how a classroom is taught your freshman year as an education major? Is there a literary magazine writing majors can help produce? Is there a famous professor with brilliant insights in charge of your program? If you can’t see why getting your program at one college would be better than getting it at another college, then you probably need to keep looking.
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Choosing a major isn’t easy.
You’ve probably heard someone say the answer is whatever you would do if you had a million dollars, but sometimes the answer isn’t nearly that simple. We don’t have a million dollars, and while many people find themselves happy in careers that are unrelated to their degree, there remains an expectation that whatever field we choose will determine how we spend our days, and how we make a living, for the rest of our lives.
That’s a pretty tough choice when you’ve only had a couple of years to truly determine what you like and what you’re good at.
As a college freshman, I was frequently tormented with this dilemma, and further annoyed with my “undeclared” label. I was (and still am) interested in everything! Having spent my high school days in choruses and musicals, I was determined not to let my love for music die. However; biology was my favorite science, and I was curious as to what I could do with my wicked memorization skills on the college level. Then again, criminal justice fascinated me, and sociology was like taking a class in everything I already think about everyday! Then there was English, my lifelong love, but after a string of less-than-great English teachers, I had lost most of my interest in writing.
Determine Your Skill Level
While many of us would love to become famous actors or professional athletes, at some point, you have to consider your skill level. In my case, while I frequently received solos and was part of the most elite musical group in my high school, I had nothing on those who were majoring in music.
Research Required Coursework
Before choosing a field, take a peek at your college catalog. What classes are required for this major? What does this major prepare you to do? Sometimes, just looking at the coursework will push you in one direction or the other. I took one look at the biology major coursework, saw the amount of practical implications, and moved on.
Research the Career
When you’ve narrowed it down to a couple different major choices, look at what careers would be available to you. Talk to real individuals who hold these jobs. Ask them what the job is like and what can prepare you for it. This might be when you realize you can’t be an environmentalist with a general science degree; rather, you’ll need an earth science degree. This might also be where you realize a particular job isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. After researching career options, I discovered that sociology and law enforcement were not majors that would lead to a job I would actually enjoy.
Get Your Feet Wet
Sometimes you won’t know if you’ve picked the right major until you get your feet wet. After declaring myself an English education major, I came to realize after the first semester that I wasn’t so crazy about the science of learning! That was something I didn’t know until I took an education class. Dabble in your interests and see how it feels!
If it turns out your college doesn’t offer the major you want, Cappex can help you search for colleges that do!
When choosing a major, in addition to considering what you like to do and what you’re good at, you may want to think about what you’d like your future career to be. It’s not as far away as you think! While there are majors such as elementary education that essentially spell out your career, other majors such as psychology, chemistry, sociology, history, leadership, and countless others don’t have a specific job title linked to it, so choosing a career path after graduation can be complicated and frustrating. Check out these tips that will help you create a plan so you can adequately prepare yourself for the job you want!
What Does Your Career Mean to You?
Before you start looking at majors and career options, you may benefit from defining what your career will be to you. Will you eat and breathe your job, making it your life’s work? Will your career be a passion that brings happiness to you everyday? Do you want to be home nights, weekends, and holidays? Is your job nothing more than a way to make money? Is your goal to make lots of money? What’s going to be the most important thing about your job? This will give you an idea as to what direction you need to be heading.
Choose a Career
Many will find it helpful to work backwards when it comes to picking a major. Instead of majoring in something you enjoy and then deciding what to do with it later, think about your potential job first. What do you need to get you to that job? Is there a minor, or another major you could get that would give you an advantage in the job market?
Choose a Degree
While you may not think there’s a big difference between biology, chemistry, and biochemistry, there is. A bachelor of arts, a bachelor of fine arts, and a bachelor of science may all mean the same thing to you now, but it can be the difference between being qualified for a job and not being qualified. Do your research. Make sure you’re getting a degree that will prepare you for the career you want.
What Else Will You Need?
Sometimes a bachelor’s degree won’t be enough to get you the job you want. Those who wish to be psychiatrists, for example, will find that a bachelor’s in psych won’t cut it. Those who want to pursue publication may find that, despite their degree, they’ll have to take a six week workshop in another city just to be qualified for an editing job. There may be certification tests, training, and unpaid internships even after graduation. Before you begin your coursework in a major, be aware of everything it will take to get you to the end destination. For many students, knowing all of the steps to reach the end goal is exciting! For others, it’s just too much work to bother. Know what you’re going to be in for before choosing a major.
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