BY BRETT CLAWSON
Deciding on a major is a major step in your academic career and life. The major you’re in will determine what classes you need to take, who you interact with, and potentially even what job you end up getting later in life. While there are countless factors you should consider throughout the process, here are some of the most important questions you should ask yourself.
What Do You Enjoy?
One of the first questions to ask, whether or not you enjoy certain topics is a key factor in whether you will be successful in that major. Even if you are very talented at biochemistry (or any other major, for that matter), if it’s not something you’re interested in, it probably isn’t for you. On the other hand, being truly interested in a topic will probably help you accomplish things beyond your comfort zone.
What Are You Good At?
That being said, you should keep in mind what you have a natural talent for or greater experience with in order to boost your chances of success. If you feel like a major might be the perfect choice for you, but you have no experience with it, consider taking a couple of courses first to decide whether or not you really do like it or are even capable of performing well in that subject. Picking a major requires balancing between what your favorite subjects are and which ones you are skilled in.
Who’s Willing to Help You?
Another factor to take into consideration is whether or not you’ll be able to network well with other people in your subject. Ideally, you’ll already have people you know studying or working in your chosen field of study. If not, figure out ways to meet new people who study the same subject. Attend clubs, activities, reach out to people through phone calls or emails. Being able to work well with other people in your chosen field of study is a major determinant of success.
What School Are You Attending?
If you’re already in college, you should select a major that your school specializes in, if at all possible. Students in different majors at the same university can have completely different experiences. Access online ratings, ratings provided by news sources, and communicate with students directly to find out what majors are popular, well-organized, or have high graduate success rates at your university.
What Are the Professors and Students Like?
Get to know your campus and the people on it. Each major will have a particular feel that will attract certain types of people. While not all of the people have to be (or even should be) the same, make sure the people within the major are the kind of people with whom you’d enjoy learning. Look for people and professors who share similar skills and values as you. Also, look for majors where you might be able to contribute a unique perspective. Some professors appreciate this, and others do not, and much of this depends on your subject of study.
What Are Your Plans After College?
Majors are about learning and enjoyment, but they should have a purpose. Where do you want the major to take you? Decide whether you want to go to graduate school or start working in your field right away. Some majors are better after you’ve completed a graduate degree while others may lead to employment. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you’d like to go to graduate school, keep in mind that you can work and complete a masters program online. Although majors tend to be more flexible now than in the past, pick a major that leads to a job that you can imagine yourself enjoying long-term.
Despite the fact that there are many things to consider when picking a major, don’t let it psych you out. As you take classes at your university, you will begin to discover what works for you. Also, remember that your major is important but won’t necessarily determine the rest of your life.
Byline: Brett Clawson is a writer and entrepreneur with a degree in Business Management. He enjoys researching emerging business trends and sharing their impact on business and the industry as a whole. He believes that the best way to influence others and share his knowledge with the world is through his writing.