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When you decide to enroll in a college bachelor's degree program, everyone suddenly wants to know your major—what you'll be studying at the university. From family friends making conversation to your academic adviser helping you choose classes, the “major” is a major deal.
Often, you'll have a good idea of what you'd like to do for a living after you graduate from college. You might want to go into business or healthcare, or you know engineering and science is your main interest. And sometimes your parents or other influential people in your life push you toward a particular major based on their own assessment of what would be good for you.
It's normal to feel confused at this point, and it's normal to have doubts. Really, you won't know whether you've made the right choice until you've gotten your general education credits out of the way and taken some core courses in your declared major.
It's rare for a student to completely switch majors (such as enrolling as a sports psychology student and changing to a culinary arts major), but it's common to switch within disciplines (such as enrolling as a human resources major and switching to a business marketing focus).
Choosing a Career-Focused Major and Minor
Some degree programs are almost completely career-oriented: business, nursing, engineering, teaching, and technology, for instance. Chances are if you're attending a vocational institute, you've chosen a major and will study mainly that subject until you graduate from the bachelor's degree program.
Within that career focus you'll need to choose a concentration when you get to your junior and senior years. And, your college may offer you the option of choosing a minor course of study. Choosing a minor simply helps you decide which elective courses to take in addition to core classes.
Spend your freshman and sophomore years exploring the many opportunities within your discipline. Take a variety of introductory courses. Make a note of which classes you found exciting and which were boring. Also note which classes were challenging—you'll probably encounter those subjects again in your schooling and in your career.
At the end of your sophomore year, sit down with your academic adviser, your mentors, your favorite professors, and perhaps your parents. Talk with them about what you've learned so far and get their advice on which concentration might be best. Ultimately, it's your decision. You'll be working at a job far longer than you'll be in college.
Choosing a Liberal Arts or Broad Sciences Major
Enrolling in a general sciences or liberal arts college gives you more choices—and more responsibility. A bachelor's degree in liberal arts qualifies you for a great number of jobs but isn't specific enough for many other jobs. The same can be said about getting a biology or physics degree, which lets you study the science but often doesn't offer specific career preparation.
While the degree is adaptable, you'll still need to focus on particular interest areas for your major and minor degrees. If you're interested in communications, for instance, you'll need to focus on advertising or journalism or marketing—but not all three. If you're interested in biology, you'll need to focus on pharmaceuticals, lab technician skills, or animal sciences—but not all three.
Getting a liberal arts or broad science degree allows you to learn about a good number of subjects during your college years. You're developing critical thinking skills, creative problem-solving skills, time-management skills, and discipline and resilience.
Choose a subject that motivates you to go to class each day and succeed. That's your major course of study. For your minor, choose a related discipline that enhances the overall body of knowledge you're developing over the course of the bachelor's degree program. When you graduate, you'll have a customized university education that will help you land that first good job.
Find out "What They Forgot to Tell You In Orientation", or get some advice on "Balancing Real Life with a College Degree Program".
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