How important is your college major? | 04.22.10
If you are new to college life, you might view selecting a major like deciding what to order at a restaurant, like your entire night out hinges on what you get to eat. In some ways, yes, a major is perhaps your most important decision to make once you’re accepted to a school. On the other hand, it does not mean you go hungry if the meal is bad.
There are two items at play when you first decide on a major, (1) what you are interested in and (2) what can help you later on down the road. Hopefully, the two are at least similar. If you have a passion for the law or medicine, you’re in luck, as those are both booming job markets. If you are enamored with Chinese philosophy or art history, well, that could be an issue. Now that doesn’t mean you should immediately throw your interests out the window.
Remember, college is not a trade school; it’s an opportunity to become a well-rounded member of society. I had some friends graduate with degrees in philosophy and they are perfectly happy living on the street. (Just kidding! Jokes!) The point is, don’t bother with a major that is just going to make you miserable.
If you have gone with a major that will not likely lead to a strong career path, you should definitely consider selecting a minor. Ideally, you could minor in something that casts a wide enough net, for example, business or English. A communications minor could also open a number of doors. The beautiful thing about a minor is, it allows you to pursue your passion, but gives you a more well-rounded degree. Prospective employers will see that you have at least some knowledge of the field, and that can be big.
If you have already graduated, well, here is where it can get complicated. Let me just say from experience that many of my fellow graduates have gone down career paths that were either only slightly related, or completely unrelated to their major. This is not something undergrads like to hear. “I’m a political science major,” they shout from the rooftops. “I will be the President! Nothing can stop me!”
But the possibility of making a career change soon after you graduate is something you should take into consideration. First, if you are looking to make an early career change, you could take an entry-level position in your next field. For example, if you want to get into advertising, but majored in history, find an internship or get an administrative job at an advertising firm. No, you won’t be rolling in the dough, but prospective employers will be looking for real-world experience, and if you can pad your resume with that, your major becomes almost an afterthought.
Another option is advancing your education. You can do this one of two ways. First, you could pursue a graduate degree in the field for which you’re looking.The great thing about pursuing a graduate degree is that you are privy to many of the same financial aid options as you were when you were entering undergrad.
You could also consider taking online classes, which are a less expensive and more convenient method of earning a new degree. For more information on this option, visit www.Edvisors.com.
ScholarshipPoints code: MAJOR1
Image credit: obenson on Flickr
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