Choosing a Major, Plus How to Choose a Career

High school and college students have quite a few tools at their disposal to help determine their college major and career path.

Kathryn Knight Randolph

December 18, 2023

Choosing a Major, Plus How to Choose a Career
Use the following tools to help you pave the way for your future.
For most 18-year-olds, it can be difficult to decide what to major in college – and you can forget trying to figure out how to choose a career at this point, too. In fact, there are plenty of graduating college seniors that struggle with this decision. How do you know as a high school student – or a college student, for that matter – what you should do with the rest of your life?

Choosing a Major and a Career

First, here is some real-world advice: your college major does not necessarily set a trajectory for the rest of your life. Plenty of people end up working in fields that are completely different from their college major.
At the same time, prospective and current college students still need a major as well as a plan for their first job out of college. With that, every student will need to take steps to figure out what to major in college and how to find their first real job. From college major quizzes to career assessments, we’re highlighting free tools that every student can use to chart a path toward their future.

College Major Quiz and Career Assessment Test

There are a plethora of online quizzes and assessments to help point you in the direction of a college major or career. High school students, as well as college freshmen and sophomores, can start with this free quiz from U.S. News and World Report. A number of colleges and universities also host their own college major quiz, like Loyola University in Chicago and Saint Louis University. Check out your college’s Career Center page for their own version. It will likely link you directly with a professor or career counselor based on your search results.
There are a number of career assessment tests that can help you figure out your eventual career path. Monster highlights just a few of these. These assessments focus on what you love to do and how well you perform in certain subject areas. Additionally, Monster recommends that you take a few personality tests, like Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram. These assessments can help you determine which industry or role best fits your personality and desires in order to find the greatest career satisfaction.

Campus Career Centers

According to a Gallup Poll, college students who visited their Campus Career Center were five times more likely to say that their university prepared them well for life after college. That’s because a college Career Center does so much more than help draft a resume.
Career counselors can walk students through how to choose a career. They can also help prepare them for that career by linking them with relevant internships or graduate schools, crafting their resumes and cover letters, and conducting practice job interviews. These Career Centers oftentimes host networking events with alumni and prominent figures in their intended field. The Atlantic notes that many jobs are shared via word-of-mouth, which implies that those students who have no venue for networking may be at a disadvantage compared to those that do. This is especially true for first-generation as well as some minority college students. While it may not be a high priority for high school students, checking out the Campus Career Center on a college tour is a must. You can see how that particular college can cater to your needs as a future professional. For current college students, campus Career Centers are often underutilized. Don’t miss out on this amazing resource that is at your fingertips. Through networking events, job search help, and exclusive alumni databases, you can find the perfect job by making the right connections.

Monster Salary Tool

The best decisions are educated decisions, and Monster’s interactive salary tool helps students get a glimpse of their salary after college. This enables high school students to make smarter student loan decisions and helps college students decide where to look for the best jobs after college. For instance, if high school seniors discover that they need to borrow money to cover the cost of college, they should never borrow more than their anticipated annual salary after graduation. College students can utilize the tool to see where in the country the best-paying jobs are for their field or role. Students that are still in the career discovery phase can view jobs by their major and see examples of open positions right now. Monster’s interactive tool also helps to define what students can do to increase their value as a job candidate. This tool is perfect for high school and college students alike because it provides guidance, as you can see tangible results for decisions that you’re making right now. With the help of Monster, you can know which and where future opportunities exist as you’re figuring out what to major in college and how to choose a career.

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