The question that every student gets in some form: what do you plan to major in while studying in college? You’ve heard this same question for years – what do you want to be when you grow up. They are essentially the same type of question. And sometimes, answering that question can be a challenge. Today I’m giving you information that should really be reserved for admissions consulting and group webinar series but I feel that everyone have know it!
Now, there are some who know immediately what they want to do for the rest of their lives before starting college. And I knew someone very much like that in college. He came in knowing that he wanted to major in chemical engineering because he eventually wanted to earn a PhD in biochemical engineering to study biochemical warfare. That’s A LOT to plan when you’re only 17! And that’s exactly what he did.
But, for many students, you only know that you plan to attend college without having a specific major in mind. Or, you may know what type of job you want to have and don’t quite know how to get there. So, what do you do in that case? What can you do? Well, it turns out there’s quite a bit you can do. Below are some suggestions that I have seen students do and some that I did before going to college:
- Check out job market expectations and predictions through the U.S. Department of Labor https://www.bls.gov/ooh/. I WISH I had known about this when I was in high school. This resource tells you about how many job openings should be in a field, the level of education needed for specific job types, what the job does, how much growth there will be in the next few years and much more!
- Become involved in extracurricular or community based organizations that focus on careers. I was involved in two of these programs while in high school; I had the opportunity to study business for two years and then communications for two years in the program while learning from people who were working in the field.
- Find a person to shadow who does the type of work that you want to do. You can see what is involved on the person’s day to day job. If you think you may wish to be a doctor but faint when a nurse draws blood, then being a doctor may not be the best option for you!
- Talk to your high school counselor or career planner. They are there to assist you and can point you in the best direction for resources that are available in your area.
- If there is a well-known person in a field that you want to study, follow the person on social media. You may be able to pick up more information into what he or she does through posts. Or the person may take questions- one of the people I follow does that on his Facebook page every few months.
- Look at magazines that discuss your future job or the industry. This will show you what people are doing in that field TODAY and where jobs are headed in the future. This is an alternative if you are not able to shadow someone.
- Attend a college’s open house that offers majors that you may want to study. While there, talk to other students who are in the major and ask tons of questions; do the same with the professors! Or check whether you can shadow a student for a day as part of a family tour.
There are so many opportunities for you to make an informed decision before starting the college application process. Be proactive and keep great notes on everything that you discover. Make a spreadsheet to compare your findings so that you have something to refer to without having to think “now, which major did this?” or “who told me that?”.
Remember, college is an investment and you want to know if you are choosing the best investment for YOU. And that includes your major! Best wishes for this part of your journey; I am excited for you.
*If you like this article, check out the other blog posts about college. You can also sign up to receive the weekly newsletter and as a bonus, I will include a free webinar on financial assistance options for college!