Choosing a college major is a big decision that—if made hastily—can land you in an unemployment line, back in school, or working in a career you chose for the wrong reasons. You may understand these consequences and feel stuck from fear, or simple indecision, but there are some things you can do to choose a major you feel more secure and happy about.
1. Don’t Rush It
Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean that it should be your major. It might seem like it makes perfect sense in the beginning, but you could quickly get bored studying a topic that you already know inside and out. For example: if you’ve played piano since you were a kid and really enjoy it, being a piano major may be tempting. However, when you start to study it full-time, you may change your mind. Everyone knows that turning your favorite hobbies and activities into work make them that much more boring and tedious. Instead of choosing the major that comes easiest to you, keep it in your pool of options while checking out other majors that are interesting, but less familiar and more challenging.
2. Let the Lifestyle You Lead Govern Your Decision
For example: If you want guaranteed financial security, travel, and vacation time, art wouldn’t be the best fit for you as a major. An artist’s financial security isn’t guaranteed, and you could very well end up working around the clock year-round with no vacation to make ends meet. On the other hand, if you find a good teaching job that has a year-round salary plan, you’ll have the vacation time and a steady income you’re looking for. All in all, it is really up to you to determine how much you want to make each year. Do your research and learn what it means to make the right choices toward a career that you’ll be happy with.
3. Consider Job Prospects in a Given Field
Make sure there’s an active job market for whichever major you choose. The last thing you want to do is pick a major that leads to a job you you’re just not cut out for. There are a lot of majors that seem appealing on the surface, but really never lead to any sort of financial stability. There is are plenty of majors with great jobs. Make sure you learn about each one that is appealing to you and then make your decision. In today’s economy, it is really important that you choose your major based on career.
4. Shadow Someone Doing The Job You Want
It might be a really good idea for you to shadow someone who has a job that is similar to what you want to do. Make sure you know the ins and outs of working in that particular field. You may find that the job that you thought was so amazing isn’t exactly what you thought. Again, do your homework and make sure it’s something that you’re passionate about. No one wants to work in a job environment that they aren’t comfortable in.
5. Treat it Like a Full-Time Job for (at Least) a Week
The first step in trying to choose a major is trying out that particular job for a week and treating it as if it were your full time job. It’s tough to determine if you can do that type of work for the rest of your days if you haven’t fully committed to it. Pretend that you’re already working in your field and start doing your homework. The results of this kind of study might help you choose your major more effectively.