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The Nerd’s Word: Making A Major Decision

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The major you choose in college doesn’t set the course for the rest of your life; it’s merely a starting point. What’s important is following your interests and discovering what you love to do.  Just like with every other acclimation process during your early stages of college, a major key to remember is to keep your cool and try not to panic. You don’t have to choose a major your first semester. Yes, it’s better to decide sooner than later, because if you switch majors late during your college years, it may take you longer to graduate – but, as we’ve all seen in the case of Van Wilder, that’s not always a bad thing. Nonetheless, you do have some time to do your research and make an informed decision.  The Nerd is here to help you figure out what to focus on when deciding your major.

Practical Aspects

Step 1: Consider which courses you’ve done well in previously and decide which major they have prepared you for.

Step 2: Investigate the quality of the professors and courses. Ask your academic advisor which departments are well regarded in their fields. Get a list of these departments’ courses to see if they interest you. Also ask students who are majoring in these subjects if they are satisfied with their respective programs and professors.

Step 3: Participate in internships to gain a feel for the kinds of jobs you could get with different majors.

Step 4: Consider the requirements for any potential majors. Find out whether they can be completed in four years or if they require graduate studies, and consider whether you would be willing to spend the necessary time and money.

Step 5: Look at the different fields to which your major can be applied. Try to find a major that will offer flexibility when you are looking to build a career.

Step 6: Think about the growth of the field that interests you. Is the field expanding? Are graduates with your major being hired right out of college or do they need additional training?

Step 7: Contemplate the earning potential and base salary of jobs that are related to certain majors. Think of the lifestyle you would like to maintain and how certain salaries may affect it.

Personal Aspects

Step 1: Figure out what it is you love to do. Are there fields of study that spark your interest, or have you taken courses that you particularly enjoyed?

Step 2: Ask yourself, and truthfully assess, if you have what it takes to succeed in your major.

Step 3: Think about whether you would be happier having a job you love with little pay or having a job you can tolerate with substantial pay. Choose a career course accordingly.

Step 4: Be flexible; you have time to change your major if you are unhappy with it.

Although we have laid out 11 different steps for choosing a major, you can really boil down your decision-making process to one simple question – do I see myself building a career in this field of study?  Our final suggestion would be to down a glass of Nerd Energy drink to maximize your concentration level and then picture yourself 10 years from now in whatever major you are considering to pursue.  If it feels like the right fit, then dive in with both feet and best of luck to you.

The Nerd returns next week with an overview of the “getting into college” interview.

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