Choosing a college major is like preparing for your career. Most students will worry about picking the wrong major or selecting one that can leave them dissatisfied.
According to Southern Methodist University (SMU) Hegi Family Career Development Center Director Darin Ford, a student can have an informed choice by synthesizing interests, skills, and personality strengths.
Don’t Wait Too Long
Although which college you want to attend is a personal choice, it is also one that can cause you a lot of stress, and this is the reason why it is best for you to start the decision process as early as you can, ideally in your junior year, albeit some experts will advise to start sooner than that. Others will tell you to wait until you have had a year or two of college to decide what major appeals most to you.
Waiting until you find your “niche” may be worthwhile since a college major will significantly affect your life. Waiting too long to make a decision, however, may be expensive and time consuming, unless you have a six figure trust fund or have a thriving family business to come home to after graduation.
Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:
Make a Criteria List and Set a Budget
Weeding out colleges is the best way to start when determining a criteria list. Write down which colleges offer majors you are interested in or good at. Remember that what you may be good at doesn’t necessarily mean you would be interested in it, and vice-versa. If you like to draw and are good at it, architecture will not serve you well if you are weak in mathematics.
Budget plays an important role in choosing a college as well. This covers location or distance from your home, tuition, room and board, possible financial assistance packages like student loans, cost of living, and other expenses. Take note of factors such as private versus state schools while weighing the specific benefits that a major in either one can be of use to you later on.
Assess the Resources Available
Campus resources are another thing to look for. A college that has advanced technology, computer accessibility, updated libraries, laboratories, etc. are necessary tools in the 21st century and their accessibility to the student should be readily available at all times. Colleges in dominantly-rural populations may not have those tools mentioned.
Factors That Will Impact Your Future
Research on the faculty, accreditation, ranking, safety, student body, community, and religious affiliation of your chosen school because these factors will all have a bearing not only on your stay in the school but also on your personal and professional life.
If you have chosen a major which will require that you attend graduate school such as business management, law school or medical school, but are hesitant to commit either the time or expense required for it, search for another program or degree that you can use for immediate employment – such as education, social work, and the like.