How important is your college major? | 04.22.10

Posted in Graduate Loans By Student Loan Network Staff

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

ScholarshipPoints code: MAJOR1

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32 Responses to “How important is your college major?”

  1. jennifer says on May 13, 2010 at 6:20 pm:

    wow this help alot

    Reply To This Comment
  2. michael says on May 13, 2010 at 5:35 pm:

    this helps me make wise choices when it comes to choosing a degree

    Reply To This Comment
  3. Guest says on May 13, 2010 at 7:51 pm:

    Very helpful. Recently I was thinking about changing my major from journalism/mass communications to art. I am hesitate to change though since it seems that jobs related to the arts are extremely limited. However at the very least I could minor in art and stay with my journalism major.

    Reply To This Comment
  4. Jonathan says on May 12, 2010 at 11:00 pm:

    It's an important information!!

    Reply To This Comment
  5. Tamara says on May 11, 2010 at 4:39 am:

    Is majoring in Music a good career path?

    Reply To This Comment
  6. Epiphany says on May 11, 2010 at 12:59 am:

    This is true i think it is better to have experience and learning then just learning and actuall visual and hands on experience.

    Reply To This Comment
  7. Ashleigh says on May 10, 2010 at 5:19 pm:

    i agree that this is very improtant
    i think ive decided a major but i wiill most definitly minor in music

    Reply To This Comment
  8. Natalie says on May 4, 2010 at 10:44 pm:

    I know my major is important but i feel that an internship with okay grades is better than good grade without any experience

    Reply To This Comment
  9. Jennifer says on May 4, 2010 at 7:12 pm:

    I am always concerned if I chose the right one, I have chosen Psychology then I will go get my masters.

    Reply To This Comment
  10. danielle says on May 2, 2010 at 8:54 pm:

    i am still in high school & i think i have the major i want to go in, but i have no idea which college is right for me :(
    i want to stay near home. but i don't want to be too close or too far.
    and i don't want to spend alot of money.

    Reply To This Comment
  11. student scholarships says on May 1, 2010 at 12:19 am:

    What a great resource!

    Reply To This Comment
  12. Danielle says on April 29, 2010 at 10:20 pm:

    oh its very important

    Reply To This Comment
  13. Veronica says on April 29, 2010 at 7:54 pm:

    This is a great article and it really makes me think of the future I have choosen for myself.

    Reply To This Comment
  14. James says on April 27, 2010 at 10:31 pm:

    Thanks for the info; my major (music) is notorious for yielding a large income, so I will definitely consider minoring in something else.

    Reply To This Comment
  15. James says on April 27, 2010 at 10:33 pm:

    Thanks for the info; my major (music) is notorious for not yielding a great income as a career; so I definitely plan on grad school, but for now I also might consider a minor.

    Reply To This Comment
  16. Sarah says on April 26, 2010 at 12:44 am:

    My Core advisor suggests thinking about what you would be willing to do for free and then getting paid for it.

    Reply To This Comment
  17. Betty says on April 24, 2010 at 12:11 am:

    Yes definitely have a minor. Makes perfect sense – good to have a backup

    Reply To This Comment
  18. maira says on April 23, 2010 at 4:22 pm:

    i am so mad do people really care about undocumented pople

    Reply To This Comment
  19. Lauren says on April 23, 2010 at 2:01 pm:

    I was lucky enough to fall into my current major by getting on-the-job training in accounting, and I found an interest in it that I never would have guessed. Now I'm pursuing a Bachelor's in accounting, with a focus on fraud investigation. My original focus was in psychology, so it is quite the change! Just be open to everything, and you'll find out more about yourself!

    Reply To This Comment
  20. virlanda charles says on April 23, 2010 at 5:07 am:

    Im nedd to go to gollege but i have no money no help and im strugling throught my life to become someone may later in the futures.

    Reply To This Comment
  21. Pamela Bennett says on April 23, 2010 at 1:20 am:

    I beleive a person's major is extrmely important for future employment in these trying times. I am forty seven and for the first time in my life, now pursuing a college degree due to the business I was employed with closed their doors which left no options for another job. Times are hard, and by getting a better education, you can use these hard times now to learn and grow in your prefferred field. Pursue your passions, and study hard. Time will pass and things are always changing. Education opens doors you never thought would open without it.

    Reply To This Comment
  22. SNemo says on April 23, 2010 at 12:32 am:

    It took me forever to choose a major! Thankfully I chose one the summer before my freshman year. Its really important to do some research and do something YOU LIKE… not something that you are pressured into. I ended up choosing Landscape Architecture as my major and I love it!!! Its so much work but its great!!!!

    Reply To This Comment
  23. Betty says on April 22, 2010 at 9:59 pm:

    This article is Right On! I am a non-traditional student so I've been out there in the real working world. From what I have seen & witnessed – a college degree is a definite PLUS but with experience (even if not related to your major) gives it that EXTRA touch that employers will be looking for.

    That also applies to your major – employers really do like to see some experience.

    Reply To This Comment
  24. maira ortega says on April 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm:

    chosing a major that has job apporunities is really impotant

    Reply To This Comment
  25. chris says on April 22, 2010 at 7:59 pm:

    This is a good article. I would just like to share my experience: I was a liberal arts major since I was uncertain for what I wanted out of college. Then, I got into Education because I wanted something more specific and thought an Education major would be great to pursue since every subject interests me and it would be great if my job was to teach others about subjects that interest me. However, I realized that you don't HAVE TO have an Education degree to be a teacher and I wasn't into most of my classes. So I ended up changing it again and it is now Political Science. From my POL classes I do feel comfortable where I'm at and strongly believe this is the final change.

    Point is- that you waste money and time each time you change your major. Since your degree plan changes you could get new prereqs and it sets you back from graduation like a semester or more. So learn from my experience- think long and hard and plan the end of college just for kicks nothing set in stone of course but just to picture what you want out of it when its all done.

    Advise – land an internship senior year in your field because, as I have seen successful with a couple of my friends, it will ensure a job after you graduate. And if the company you intern at doesn't hire you, you still have that great experience for your resume for other similar jobs in that field.

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