How To Choose Your College Major

posted by Chris Valentine

A college major is the subject area you will specialize in. The majority of courses you take during your time in college will be about this subject area. Your college major will give your potential employers a clue as to what subject area you have the most knowledge in. Or to put it another way, your college major will determine which job roles you are eligible for. So, choosing the right college major is a big deal.

That is why we have written this short guide on how to choose your college major. Take your time and come back to these questions again and again until you have found some clarity. 

Whose concerns do you want to solve? 

Our jobs are an act of service and we serve groups of people. 

A normal routine job can become a source of fulfillment and satisfaction when we care about whom we serve. Try asking yourself whose concerns you would like to solve. 

If you care about the concerns of small business owners, then choose a major where you can solve their problems in administration, sales or on the distribution side. If you care about victims of injustice then choose a major in social work, law, or medicine. Or if you care about paraplegics then choose a major in biotechnology or robotics.

When choosing what your college major should be, think about who you would like to give the results of your hard work to.

Who or what would you like to work with?

A job is as much about working for people as it is working with people. Your job could require you to be a valuable member of a team, sharing in responsibilities and producing information that empowers decision makers.

Ask yourself if there is a particular group of people you’d like to work with. If you like being around people who enjoy building things, then choosing something like engineering could be a good fit. If you like being around athletes, then choosing a major in sports science will allow you to meet more of them. 

And ask yourself if there is a particular object or tool you like to work with, or a place you would like to work in. Think about your preference for working with things like software, chemicals, fabrics, agriculture, nature and so on. 

Working with people you like, or working with things that you like, greatly increases the chances that you will be happy in the long term.

Are you competent at something already?

If you have a high level of competency in some sport or hobby by the time you start looking at universities then that suggests to us that you have a passionate interest in the activity. And you may even share the interest with a larger community.

If you have learned to code video games, for example, you would be a perfect fit for a major in Computer Science or Software Development. Or if you have learned graphic design in your spare time enrolling in a major that allows you to put together a professional portfolio could lead to an enjoyable career. 

Competencies and hobbies can give you a head start in college, allowing you to dive straight into advanced skills and specialized knowledge. 

What is the job market like where you will live?

Understand the job market in the country where you will reside after graduation. Competencies that you acquire may not be in demand where you live. Or the competencies that you develop today may become outdated in 10 years. Search for data for you on job markets all around the world, as well as articles from thought leaders on what skills will be in demand in the future. 

Take these into consideration before you choose your major. Are there organizations in your city that need someone with your knowledge? How well funded are they? Are they expanding? 

Think this through carefully. Reach out to a guidance counsellor in your school or start a conversation with someone in the field you are interested in. 

Is money the deciding factor?

Some universities are more expensive than others. Some degree programs cost more than others. You should shortlist all of your options by evaluating how much they will cost, and what scholarships you can get to offset the cost. Avoid taking on too much debt at this stage in your life. Find the best balance between cost of education and quality of education.

Also consider the salary you can expect to earn after graduating with your chosen major. Some majors lead to jobs with higher starting salaries than others, which might be important to you.

Be clear about costs and salaries so that you know what to expect. Crunching the numbers gives you clarity and helps you say yes or no to things with certainty.

Students get overwhelmed with the number of college majors out there. Some people will tell you to choose the major that will get you paid the most. But be careful with this advice because you can end up studying something you don’t like, or worse, working in a job that makes you miserable. We hope this guide helps you and we wish you good luck! 

UOBD is a vibrant university embracing the universally-acclaimed American liberal education model, which focuses on whole-individual education.  Students, faculty, and staff come from different countries and cultures-a welcoming and multicultural campus community.

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