How to Choose Your Major

College Majors

Your college major will determine what kind of job you get after college and what kind of opportunities are available to you for years to come. The right major will lead to career satisfaction and long-term financial success. The wrong major can leave you miserable in a job that you hate and that will never allow you to advance to meet your financial goals.

With so much riding on a college major, it’s no wonder so many students have such a hard time choosing. Here are a few tips that can help you to choose your major if you are still having trouble deciding:

Follow Your Passion

Of course, the first place to start thinking about possible college majors is what makes you passionate. Have you always enjoyed painting? Maybe you should consider graphic design or studio art as your major. Have you also felt really engaged by a good debate? Maybe public policy or law is in your future.

Think about all the things that make you happy and excited, and make a list of possible majors from that. You can later narrow your list based on additional criteria.

Determine Your Earnings Potential

Maybe you’ve always really loved writing, but unless you become a best-selling author, a career as a teacher or a researcher may not have as much earnings potential as you’d like. Take a close look at all the possible majors on your list, and research what earnings potential each has.

Only you can decide how much you will need to make in order to make your major worth it. However, you can’t make the right decision without all the information, so doing this research is important.

Determine Your Career Potential

Some majors give you the training to do only one job or very limited jobs. For example, if you major in acting, chances are you won’t be able to use that for anything else except acting (well, maybe teaching). Then if you can’t get a job acting, you don’t have many other options.

For each major you consider, also consider what career options you have. The more possibilities your major offers you, the better — especially in this economy.

Consider How Challenging It Is

Sure, doctors can make a lot of money, and if you get your medical degree, you can use it to pursue a number of different professions (all in healthcare, of course). However, getting a medical degree is very challenging, and it may not be one you are ready for. When comparing options for majors, it is important that you also consider just how hard it will be on you to complete the program. You don’t want to spend the next four years of your life (or 12) barely scraping by. Make sure it’s a challenge you can handle.

Research Financial Aid Options

Most undergraduate degrees will cost you the same (the difference will be in the school you attend). However, not all undergraduate degrees have the same possibilities for scholarships and other financial aid. Some majors have a lot more possibilities to get support, making it easier for you to start your career without the burden of debt later.

Ultimately, choosing a major may come down to a gut decision. However, with so much riding on what you choose to study, it is important to consider all these criteria to make sure you are making the very best choice for you.

How did you choose your major in college? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Tara Spenser is currently the resident writer for workingcapital.org, where she researches the most affordable business capital loans available. In her spare time, she enjoys blogging, swimming and being a mom.

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