Thinking and worrying about the future is common for many people. Though your major won’t necessarily define your life, choosing your major is an important decision, and you should take it seriously. Read on for some tips when it comes to declaring a major.
How Important Is a Major?
In 2010, the US Census Bureau conducted research in order to find out how many college graduates found a job related to their major. They found that only 27% of all graduates managed to land a job related to their college major, and only 65% worked at a job that required higher education. These statistics sound alarming, especially when you’re trying to plan for your future. It is important to keep in mind that though a major is important, it doesn’t guarantee instant success.
When Do You Start Thinking About Your Major?
There isn’t a specific period in life when each student should think about choosing a major, as it depends on how eager you are to plan your life. Some young adults have a detailed plan for their lives for the next 10 years, while others have no idea where they will be in six months. In actuality, for 20-somethings, the latter is considered to be more common. On the contrary, if you have everything figured out before you’ve even started college, this can be a little bit unnerving. Don’t worry if you are unsure of what you want to do with your life, it’s never too early or too late to take the first step.
How to Choose a Major?
When thinking practically, your major should suit you personally. As there is no one way to go about making this life-changing decision, here are just three of the many routes that can be taken:
Find Your Passion
This is the most popular approach towards choosing a major. Every motivational magazine and every blog post about career and learning tell you to “find your passion.” Just because this is one of the most popular routes to take, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best. As stated above, your major in college may have very little to do with your future career. If you already know where your passion lies, go for it! If, however, you have no idea what your passion looks like, don’t try to forcefully invent it within a time limit before your application is due.
Maybe you have decided to take an alternative route, and are looking at the potential earnings of your desired major. According to PayScale, the most highly-paid majors are engineering and its variations. These variations include mathematics, physics, statistics, computer sciences and, of course, economics. These majors are also distinguished by their relatively high salaries in the first one to five years of employment when the hire has no practical experience. Don’t be lured into thinking that your major, however tough and unique it may be, will guarantee you a successful career the moment you move on from university. This knowledge will spare you from frustration when you may not be able to find your dream job on the first try.
Free as the Wind
This is the least popular, yet somehow the most realistic approach a student can take towards his or her major. Your four, or more, years of college will be filled with challenges, revelations, and plot turns. This approach is realistic because it makes you more adaptable. If your first choice of major doesn’t work out, you have higher chances of making a smooth transition because of two reasons. First of all, you won’t feel like you are abandoning your dream. Secondly, you won’t be concerned that you’ve lost out on one career to pursue another.
When to Declare a Major?
The rules pertaining to choosing your major vary from college to college. This is just a short list of possibilities you may face:
- Stating your major on your application
- Writing “undecided”
- Declaring your major during your sophomore year
- Changing your major
- Inventing your own major
As you can see, there are many possibilities – just don’t wait too long and don’t let someone else decide for you. If you are not sure about your major before sending in the application, you can always get into college first and decide your major once you are in.
Can I Change My Mind?
Of course, though it may mean taking additional courses. When you enter college, you are introduced to a vast scale of subjects and topics you didn’t even know existed. You also have more time to explore those topics, so make sure to take advantage of the opportunity. It may also be beneficial to speak with your adviser or a professor you like, talk to sophomore students, and look for internship opportunities. Just remember that some majors require you to take basic courses beforehand and have mandatory coursework, so college may take a semester or two longer to complete if you decide to change your major too late.
Have an Attitude That Will Attract the Right Major
You may or may not believe in the law of attraction, but implementing these practices in your life may be helpful, regardless of whether they will lead you to your major or not.
- Be open to new experiences. Next time you feel too tired to go to that party or lecture your friend invited you to – throw all excuses out of the window and go.
- Remember that there’s no 100% guarantee of success anywhere. This doesn’t mean, however, you shouldn’t strive for success – just don’t cling to the thought that your major defines you.
- Take your time and enjoy the process. In the rush to figure out their lives, students often forget that education is a process of exploring and experimenting. If you are short on time you can always reach out to get help with your academics.
Choices are one of the most difficult parts of our lives, but we can’t avoid them. You should always remember that your fears, as well as your mistakes, are opportunities. As long as face these parts of your life head-on, you will be better prepared for your future.
For more great content on all things related to college, check out the other blogs at College Basics.