Choosing a college major can be an easy task if you know what it is that you are looking for in your course of study, but when it comes to choosing the right college major … well, that's not so clear cut. A recent article by the Huffington Post claims that half of all college students change their minds about what they want to major in, while the National Survey of Student Engagement suggests that 6 out of 10 students are dissatisfied with their choice of major.
As a result, you might be feeling rather bewildered. The last thing you want is to make the wrong choice and end up in your dream job or not using your degree to its fullest potential.
How can you avoid that? Based on years of research, here are seven steps you should take to find the right college major for you.
1. Determine your interests
A college major serves as a general guideline for what type of work or industry might interest you, which is why it's important to first think about what type of work or field you would like to be involved in.
For instance, if you're interested in working with a specific type of clientele, such as children or the elderly, then education might be your best option. If you want to gain experience abroad, then international business or Spanish could be profitable for you.
2. Prioritize your skills
Consider your strengths and weaknesses, and then think about which college major will best suit you in terms of what you're good at. For example, if you're an organized person who is well-versed in mathematics, finance may be right up your alley. If you have a knack for languages and socializing, then perhaps international business will suit you best.
3. Talk to your professors
This might seem like an obvious step, but far too many students fail to take it. Professors are familiar with their department and can give you insights on what kind of career opportunities each major is associated with. If they have any connections within the field, this could be a huge leg up on the competition.
4. Check with your college's department
Every college has its own unique departments and working groups, which can provide you with even more insight into what type of career options are available to you. This is especially important if your course of study is new or one that isn't very common, as a department can provide you with a better idea of what types of careers are available to you.
5. Check job listings for your college major
The Rutgers Career Development Center, for instance, allows you to search its database by major. Type in the name of your desired major and see if any jobs pop up that correspond with it. This could help you determine if your college major will lead to an interesting or fulfilling career, so it's definitely worth taking advantage of.
6. Consider your learning style
Different students learn in different ways. If you're a visual learner, perhaps business would be the best option for you, whereas if you prefer to learn by doing then engineering may be a better route.
7. Keep an open mind
No matter what major you choose, don't be afraid to change your mind if another department or career path intrigues you. The beauty of college is that it's designed to help you explore the world and determine what field truly interests you. So take advantage of this opportunity and keep an open mind throughout the entire process.