Questions to Ask When Selecting a Major

In college choosing one’s major can seem like a very daunting task. The major you choose is so important because it determines where the rest of your career will go. The major you select can result in you either moving on to graduate school, or getting a job out of undergrad. Once you’ve covered the dos and don’ts of selecting a major, you should think about these important questions to ask.

1. How difficult is this major?

This includes both classes, and other requirements associated with the major. As much as some may like to think that their major is just as tough as any other, in reality, some are much harder than others. This of course depends on the school you’re attending (English may be the hardest major at some schools, while others may have crazy engineering or science programs), and the program itself. Some majors will have a lot of difficult class requirements, or project requirements. Think of how hard you’re willing to work. If you respond admirably to large course loads, then a harder major may suit you. If you are pretty lazy, you may want to go the easier route. It’s a good idea to talk to students in the major, or past graduates to get an idea of the difficulty.

2. Where does my college rank in this major?

Some colleges are better than others for different programs. For example, if I wanted to be an engineer, I’d probably opt for Purdue or Notre Dame. If I wanted to be in business, Penn would be my choice. If I was an aspiring English major, then Kenyon or another liberal arts college (or New Ivy) might be a good move. You have to know what your school is good at, and what it isn’t good at. My school has a fantastic Poly Sci program, but I’ve heard the English department could be improved greatly. Do your research. Rankings aren’t everything, but if you get straight A’s in a lackluster program, you may not be as desirable as someone who averaged Bs at a fantastic program.

3. How long will this major take to complete?

Selecting your major can mean the difference between 4, 5, or even 7 years in college. That means it can cost you thousands of dollars to complete as apposed to other majors. You have to consider that there will be more time spent in school and less time spent working. Then you have to consider all of the other costs associated with being a full-time student. Considering the fatigue factor is also important. I know may people who have gotten burned out after four years of college. If you are planning on staying for more, you have to think about the possibility that by year 5, you may be so sick of school you just won’t try.

4. What are the job prospects for this major?

Depending on the major you select, you might have to go to graduate school after undergrad. You may also be selecting a major that has a negative job outlook. So your research and answer the question. If all the jobs in your major look like they’re being outsourced, you might want to consider a different major.

5. Do I have any friends in this major?

This may seem like a dumb question. However, it can be very helpful to have people you know in the major with you. If I didn’t know people in my major, I may not have done well in certain difficult classes. It’s always nice to have someone to study with. It’s also nice when you think about buying books. If you know someone who has the same major, you can get used books from them for cheaper. You can also find out about the best professors if they have taken the class before you.

These are just five simple questions that you can ask yourself before declaring a major. If you consider these important points, your decision could be made much easier. Who knows, you could end up choosing a major that actually makes you happy, and you won’t be forced to change majors several times, although that’s not always a bad thing.

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