When comes to start making decisions about enrolling in a college, an applicant should think about how to choose a college major, which can let him or her focus on one field then explore in greater depth. Selecting a college major is an important decision, which reflects on an applicant’s goals, interests, skills, and aptitudes. Here are some ideas for reference.
- What are your goals? To answer this question involves examining the applicant’s value in work. Examples of values include stability, rewards, working under pressure, working alone or with groups, and many others.
- What are your interests? What types of jobs or careers appeal to you? Which subjects did you enjoy studying the most in high school? Do you have any hobbies that you would like to pursue as a career? Figure out what you love to do, Career Assessment may be helpful. In addition, college career centers have a variety of self-tests you can take to help you answer some of these questions.
- What are your talents? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What kind of skills do you have? You can begin self-examination by looking at the courses you took in high school. What were your best subjects? Is there a pattern there? What kinds of extracurricular activities did you participate in while in high school? What kinds of things did you learn from part-time or summer jobs? Are you a strong writer? Are you a natural born scientist? Are you a computer whiz? Figure out what kinds of majors are suited for people with your talents. In the same time, figure out what you are not good at, and avoid majors where those kinds of skills are needed.
- What are the possible occupations? There are many colleges offer Career Exploration Links – Occupations, which allows you to explore a general list of occupations. In addition, be aware of whether there is in-demand career fields in the geographic areas where you would like to live following graduation. Take advantage of the campus career center. They can give you information about career planning and help you choose a major that is appropriate.
- What is the reality? You need to honestly evaluate yourself. For example, ask the question to yourself, do you really value physicians and have an interest in being a doctor? Do you have little skills in science? Does the occupation require an advanced degree? There are often ways to get around some of the obstacles, but it is still important to face these obstacles and be realistic about whether you can get around them.
- Is the field expanding? Think about the growth of the field that interests you. Investigate career trend and hot majors.
- What are some resources for references?
- The course catalog. This will list information about each major, what courses are required, and what courses are offered. Find out whether they can be completed in four years or if they require graduate studies.
- Professors. Investigate the quality of the professors and courses. Ask your academic adviser which departments are well-regarded in their fields. Also ask students who are majoring in these subjects if they are satisfied with their respective programs and professors.
- Students. One of your best sources of information on campus comes from your fellow students. Find juniors and seniors and ask them what they like and dislike about their majors.
- Alumni. If possible, talk to those who have graduated fairly recently ask their opinions, and find out what they are doing now.
- College’s career center. Start visiting in your first year because most have resources for choosing a major and a career, as well as internship and job placement information. It’s never too early or too late to visit the college career office.
- College majors guides. Information about majors also is available in guidebooks. You can get these guidebooks at the school library or academic advising office.
- College websites. Browse through the websites of different departments on campus to find out general information about what different majors are and what kinds of careers majors go into. In addition, check Department websites as well, because they probably will link to any websites maintained by professors, who sometimes put information about their classes online.
- The official job website. The college major that you select impacts the types of jobs you will be qualified for upon graduation. USA Jobs (http://www.usajobs.gov/EI23.asp), the official job website of the United States Federal Government, has a guide to college majors that detail hiring qualifications. This site publishes popular jobs with an appropriate college major list beneath each type of job.
- What kind of career are you interested in? Narrowing your choices and focusing on choosing a major. Based on all your research and self-assessment, you should now have a better idea of the careers/majors you are not interested in pursuing as well as a handful of potential careers/majors that do interest you. Try to find a major that will offer flexibility when you are looking for a job.
Choosing a major is really a journey toward discovering that ideal career path for you, so make sure you spend some time thinking about and test it if possible before making a decision.