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Ask an Expert: What Should I Major In?

Ask an Expert: What Should I Major In?

An expert answers tough questions on choosing majors.

By Peter Vogt

October 04, 2010

I’m a college student in my second semester and I still can’t decide what I want to major in. My major is currently “undecided.” I want to choose a major that I will enjoy years later, and in which there will be job openings by the time I graduate.

Answer:

You aren’t alone in not knowing what to major in. In fact, you’re actually better off being “undecided” for a while so that you can explore various majors and get a better sense of what they’re about (both academically and in terms of the career they might lead to). Here are some steps you can take:

1) Talk to a counselor at your school’s career center. Why? Because he/she can talk to you about the various majors at your school and give you an initial sense of what they’re all about. He/she can help you explore majors you’ve already identified, and perhaps suggest similar areas that you haven’t considered.

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2) Read about careers in the fields you’re interested in. Any decent-sized bookstore (i.e., Barnes and Noble, Borders) has a “Careers” section where you can find all sorts of career-related books.

3) Conduct informational interviews with people in the fields you’re interested in – either in person or via phone or email. If you’re interested in child psych, for example, find a child psychologist and ask him/her what an appropriate major might be.

What would be a good field for me to obtain my master’s degree in? I don’t want to go to law school, but I do want to get my master’s.

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Answer:

Since graduate school is such a huge investment of your time, energy, and money, it’s critical for you to have an idea why you want to go in the first place. In the ideal case, people attend grad school because they have a specific career or personal goal in mind and they need at least a master’s degree to pursue it.

It’s impossible to say which field would be good for you because it all depends on your definition of “good.” Are you referring to earning potential, job possibilities, or a job that is interesting and rewarding? You should decide that first.

Do some homework before you commit to graduate school. It’s far better to ask these tough questions now instead of halfway through the program or, worse, when you’re done.


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