What do I want to be when I grow up, you’ve probably wondered. And how exactly do I get there? For many of us, the answer lies with the higher education system. After graduating high school, many people earn certificates, associate degrees, or bachelor’s degrees, and others go on to pursue advanced degrees. But how do you even go about deciding what to study? How do you make the kind of big decision that could shape the course of your life? Below we share our top five tips for picking a major.
Figure out what you like and what you’re good at
You don’t want to spend the next two to four years of your life studying and learning about something you dislike or you aren’t good at, so start there. What were your favorite subjects in high school? What did you excel at? If you were a science wiz, perhaps you’ll want to consider health science or nursing programs. Or maybe you loved math and technology, so engineering and computer science is up your alley. If you love working with children, perhaps you’d like education and teaching. Draw on your interests outside of the classroom as well. What are some things you love to do? See if you can find any common themes among your favorite hobbies and interests. Once you have a good idea of your interests, skills, strengths, weaknesses, and goals, explore what types of programs allow you to stay true to yourself.
Know (or at least have an idea about) your career goals
What are your career goals? Do you know what kind of jobs are available? If not, do some career research online and ask older friends or relatives about what kinds of industries and jobs they work in. Consider what kind of environment you’d like to work in or what kind of job you see yourself thriving in. Do you like working alone or do you prefer being in groups? Are you okay with sitting in front of a computer all day or would you like to be on your feet? Once you’ve got a list of preferred career paths, do some research into educational requirements to determine what type of degree you’ll need.
Learn about the careers you’re considering
The best way to know if a specific career field or major is right for you is by going out there and experiencing it. Talk to some of your peers who are already enrolled in college classes and see what they have to say about the majors they study. Try taking some college courses in high school or introductory courses at your local community college or community center. To explore specific career paths, talk to adults who work in these fields and see if you can shadow them for a few days. If there are employment or volunteer opportunities, try to snatch those up as well!
Remember that this decision doesn’t have to be forever
Know that even if you have your heart set on a specific major or career path, there’s still a chance you might change your mind in the future and that’s okay. Keep a list of other areas you’d like to study or careers you might be interested in and don’t be too hard on yourself if you do decide to change your academic program during college.
Ask the professionals for help
Consider talking to the professionals who are there to guide you through this decision. High school counselors can provide information on career fairs, class electives, career exploration, and college planning sessions. School counselors may even be able to administer or recommend tests that can help you narrow down what majors or career paths could be a good fit for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about any of the programs offered here at South College, our admissions representatives are prepared to answer your questions. With plenty of programs for you to choose from, both online and on campus, our Admissions team can help guide you in selecting a program that’s right for you. Get in touch today!