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How to Choose Your College Major

Few things are more important than choosing the right college major. After all, your major will influence not only what you learn over the course of several years of college, but ultimately what your career path will look like. While you can learn a great deal about various majors from a course catalog, you might not get the guidance you need. Below are a few steps you can take to determine not only what kind of majors you should pursue, but how to make a choice in a way that will have the best impact on your future.

Think About What You Want

Start your search for a college major by trying to think about what your ideal future holds. Don’t think about the job, but rather what it will get you. Do you want to travel? Do you need to make a certain amount of money to be happy? Do you want to be inside, or do you need to stretch your legs during the day? All of these factors will play a role in how happy you will be in the future, and thus will inform the major you need to choose.

Do Some Research

Next, take some time to look at the careers that will lead you to that ideal lifestyle. This means not just looking at the degree, but the jobs you can get with that degree. Take a moment to look at the various jobs that will allow you to travel, if that’s what’s important to you, and then work back from that point to decide upon the degree that can help you to accomplish that goal. There are many more paths to your ideal job than you might realize, but you’ll need to hit the books to figure out the right routes.

Look at the Job Market

Once you’ve got a few jobs in mind, try to figure out what will actually be marketable when you graduate from college. Certain majors – and jobs – have too many applicants for too few positions, and thus might not be worth your time to pursue at this juncture. As you’re looking at the milestones you want to reach in your life, try to figure out if there’s any way to do it with the potential marketplace that will exist when you graduate. If you can’t see a realistic path to a job, that major probably isn’t worth your time.

Think About Money

While money isn’t everything, it is still important for you to get a good return on your collegiate investment. Take some time to figure out how much you will spend getting your degree, as well as the degrees that might be necessary for you to pursue your ideal job. If you’re not going to make enough to pay back your loans in the future, it might not be a great idea to pursue that path. This matters less, of course, if money doesn’t matter much for your future plans.

Know Your Passions

Finally, take some time to think about the types of study that actually make you happy. If you’ve got a passion for something, it’s always a good idea to see if it fits into your future plans. Having a job that you live can make up for a lot of other shortcomings, so don’t be totally put off by market research and salary rankings. Remember, though, that your passion doesn’t have to be a primary career – you may well want to make sure that you have room for a few electives that speak to your hobbies or desires alongside a more reasonable major.

Figuring out your college major should be a process that starts from your end goal and allows you to work back. Figure out where you want to be, how you will get there, and finally which degrees will allow you to pursue the future that is most important to you. With a little research, you’ll be able to find something that not only fulfills your needs, but that will allow you to pursue a career that you’ll cherish for many years to come. Whether you’re looking to head to college for the first time or heading back for another try, finding the right major will always be one of your most important collegiate tasks.

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