Why Your Major Matters

Why Your Major Matters

The farther along you get in the college search, the more often you get hit with the question of what do you want to major in? For some, the answer comes easily. For others, it is a source of irritation - how could you possibly know what you want to do for the rest of your life when you're only 17 years old? So how important is your major? It varies by the point in time.

College Search

Selecting a major now can help you decide which college to attend. If you're interested in a particular career, find out which majors are required and make sure the colleges you're considering offer them. If you're unsure, consider liberal art colleges or universities offering many difference academic areas. Find out about the services they offer students to help find an area of study and ask about the deadlines for choosing a major. If you find something you are truly interested in, declare it as your major and consider it a starting point. If you're unsure, there is nothing wrong with declaring yourself as an undeclared major.

College Years

College is a big investment of time and money, so you want to choose a major in a timeframe that doesn't delay graduation. Typically, your coursework freshman year will consist of general studies to fulfill core requirements and introduce you to topics you may want to major in. By your sophomore year, you will begin to study a subject or two in greater detail, and if you haven't yet done so, will be asked to declare a major. Don't be surprised if you change your major from when you enrolled, as you find out what really interests you. In your junior year, you should be taking upper level courses in your major and begin to enlist in some activities that will help direct your career-research studies, internships, a semester abroad…. By your senior year you should have an idea of what job you want and using your resources to gain work experience in your chosen field. When it comes time to find that first job, employers consider actual experience almost as highly as your degree.

Post-College

As you progress in your career, you will build skills and knowledge that will eclipse your choice of major. After a couple of years of work experience, your degree begins to fade in importance as your resume rises. After about five years, it is relegated to the fine print unless you've earned advanced degrees. At that point, a degree is considered as a minimum requirement for employment rather than a testament to your knowledge. So, as time goes on, your choice of major loses importance.

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