An education is a terrible thing to waste. Unfortunately, though more and more young people are headed to college now than ever before, a good portion of them struggle to find a degree that suits them. Indeed, anywhere between 20 to 50 percent of students enter college not knowing which major they want to specialize in. And roughly 75 percent of college students change their major at some point. Given how much uncertainty there is around selecting a major –– and how expensive college has become –– it’s imperative that students study a subject that will set them up for success for years to come. Here are a few tips how young people can do just that:
Try New Things
College is all about discovery. So don’t feel pressured to make a decision on your major the second you arrive on campus. Rather, it’s often a better play to take general education courses as a freshman to help determine where your interests lie. Learn how to handle ACD blood tubes or how to write a poem in iambic pentameter, or whatever grabs your attention. You never know what’ll strike a chord with you until you try it. Note, there’s no such thing as “useless knowledge;” explore and investigate until you find a class that speaks to you.
Don’t Listen to Others
If your father is a psychologist, and your mother is a psychologist, and both of their parents were also psychologists, you may feel some pressure to study psychology. The truth is though, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. As a young adult, you owe it to yourself to study what you feel passionate about. Don’t let friends and family members push you down a path you don’t want to follow. You could regret it for the rest of your life if you let this happen.
Plan for the Future, Today
There are a few majors, like business, accounting, etc. that most people consider “safe majors.” In other words the conventional wisdom holds, if you decide to pursue a business degree, you’ll never have trouble getting a job or making money. In reality though, business majors can struggle to find employment like anyone else. At the end of the day, which degree you pursue is less important than how you plan on using it. The most sought-after degree in the world won’t help you get ahead if you yourself don’t know how you’re going to leverage it.
The Bottom Line
Choosing a degree is an important decision for your development as a professional and a person. Still, you shouldn’t be afraid to switch majors should you feel the need. It’s better to identify the perfect major after much deliberation than to stubbornly stick with a school of study you don’t love. Keep that in mind when it’s time to make the “big call” for yourself.