Choosing a Major
Preparing and applying for college can be overwhelming, but we have many resources available to help ease the stress of high school students and their families throughout this taxing yet rewarding process.
Deciding on a major can be a stumbling block for students, but it doesn’t have to be. One important fact to keep in mind is that only 27% of college graduates obtain jobs in their field. The majority of students holding four year degrees are not working in fields related to their major – that should take some of the pressure off of selecting a major.
At the same time, you will want to make sure you are enrolled in a program that will offer you the education you desire, engage your passion and provide you with resources to advance your skills during your time at college. The College Readiness Institute (www.takestockinchildrenmiami.com) has stories about real college students and tools to help high school students match their talents to a career. You may find it helpful to investigate these kind of real life experiences prior to making your final decision.
Miami Dade College also offers students advisement on choosing a major, including a Choices Planner and Career Coach. MDC has a Student Achievement Initiative in place to provide further resources to students in order to help them succeed in college and complete their degree.
The best way to find out if you’re suited to a particular career is to learn as much as you can about that career beforehand. Try contacting professionals in your area that have a job in the field that you are interested in working in after you graduate. You can ask to shadow them for a day to learn about their job responsibilities and see what parts of their job might excite you.
Other suggested career research steps:
- Find someone you admire who is working at the top of their field and look for interviews about their early career. Investigate how they got from college to where they are now. Take notes on the jobs they worked before they became well known in their field. Imagine yourself on a similar career path and see if you like it.
- Consider that some careers require specific training and skills, such as nursing, physical therapy, engineering, and many other scientific/medical fields. If you are interested in one of these fields, you will need to plan out a more narrow and specific career path than in broader fields such as business.
For example, if you are interested in nursing, you will want to speak to nurses at hospitals in your area and get a clear idea of what skills you will need to work there yourself. Committing to a scientific or medical major is more limiting than a major in literature or global studies, but can be incredibly rewarding if it’s the right place for you. Medical and scientific degrees can offer more job security than a degree in the humanities, which is beneficial when considering the cost of college.
- Look at the class requirements for a major. If the list of courses sounds boring to you, you will have a harder time completing the work. Unless you are very sure you will love the day to day life in that career, it may be wiser to find a major that has class requirements that sound more interesting to you and excite your passion.
- Don’t forget that you can double major, receive a minor or explore your interests in a variety of ways outside of your chosen major. Internships and work-study programs can provide you with on the job experience that can supplement your education in the classroom.
- You can succeed in any field that you choose to pursue. You don’t have to feel like you are deciding the rest of your life with one choice. Professionals today change jobs and fields much more often than in the past.
- The most important outcome of going to college is to receive the benefits of higher education, increase your earning potential and open doors to pursue your passion.