What Major Should I Choose? 6 Ways to Know Which Degree is Right for You


Dr. Kent Ingle

Photo : Dr. Kent Ingle

Deciding on your college degree can feel like one of the biggest decisions of your adult life. You may be torn between what you enjoy and what's practical, or be concerned that whatever you choose now will determine your career path for the rest of your life. 

With so much pressure and with so many potential degrees and majors available, it can be challenging to know where to begin. How can you decide which degree is right for you and feel confident in your decision?

Here are six things you can do to help you decide on a degree.

1. Research career paths. If you haven't already, take some time to explore different career options. Online resources are a great place to start. You can look at sites like the Bureau of Labor Statistics' CareerOneStop or Zippia, which give up-to-date information on salary, application requirements and potential career paths based on your degree. 

2. Try out different classes. While online research is helpful, taking a college class is a great way to get an in-depth look at the degree or career path and see if it's a good fit for you. Look at the different course options available and sign up for what interests you. You'll have more freedom in your first two years of college to take a variety of classes, so take advantage of that opportunity and see what you enjoy. 

3. Talk to your professors. It can be helpful to talk with someone already in the field. Talk with your different professors about their past experiences, what they enjoy about their profession and how they got to where they are today. They can help point you in the right direction based on your interests. Once you know what you want to do, they can also help you decide what degree would be the best fit for the career you're going into. 

4. Prepare for your career. Once you have an idea of what you would like to do, it can be helpful to research what training specific careers require. Look at job postings and see what level of education and skills companies are requiring, then work backwards. Choose your degree based on what would be the best fit and take classes that will help you succeed in your future career path. 

5. Spend time in the field. The best way to know if a degree is right for you is to get practical experience. Try doing an internship, volunteering or working part-time in the field you're interested in. Getting real-life experience is a great way to see if it's a good fit for you and will help you know which degree path will best prepare you for your career.

6. Consider a general degree. If you're still not sure what you would like to do, consider casting a wide net. General degrees like Business, English and Communication are applicable across a variety of fields and positions, giving you relevant experience and skills for whatever you decide to do. You can always get your graduate degree or  additional training if your job requires more specific education. 

No matter what degree or career you decide on, remember to take it slow. The career path you start may change along the way. However, the experiences you have and the things you learn along the way will inform your career, wherever you end up, so be sure to make the most of every situation and enjoy the moment.

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