We all have seen those cute commercials and movies where the young child is asked what they want to be when they grow up. These little ones know what the future holds for them, but it doesn’t work that way for everyone.
By the time you get into high school, you’re expected to know what direction you want your life to go in.
Many people only have a vague idea, though. How can you know exactly what you want to do when you don’t know all of the millions of jobs available to you yet?
The reality is that very few people actually know, to a T, what they want to do when they “grow up.” The rest of us just need to start moving in the path that takes us to the things we’re interested in.
If you’re not positive about what career you want, but you know a general idea, the next step is choosing a major. From there, you’ll be able to specialize in more detail as you go through your college courses.
These nine steps will help you decide your major and lead you to the next important decision: choosing a college!
1. Know Your Strengths
Taking a good look at your advantages is the first step toward your future career. If you already have some hefty skills, why not leverage them?
You might not see it yet, but there’s probably a way you can mix the things you’re good at with something you’re interested in. Until you start learning more about what’s out there, you won’t know.
Using your innate skills will give you a significant advantage in your college and career path.
>2. Know Your Weaknesses
On the other hand, you could have a lot of interest in something and no skills at all in that field.
Maybe you want to be a baseball player, but your athletic talents are subpar. Or you love the idea of being a trial lawyer, but you hate reading endless case law.
Never try to force yourself down a career path you’re not wholly invested in. You’re going to be wasting a lot of time, energy, and money only to find out later you don’t want to be involved in that job for the rest of your life.
3. Follow Your Interests
Once you know your strengths and weaknesses, start researching majors that relate to them. Which ones are interesting to you, and which ones automatically sound wrong?
Make a list of the majors that appeal to your interests and work with the strengths you already have. Within that list, do a little more research to find out what types of courses you’ll be taking per major.
You’ll probably find that a lot of the courses intersect. This will guide you to the next step!
4. Do Some Course Legwork
Some of the courses you’ll have to take are your core classes, like English, sciences, and math. Ignore the ones that overlap in all the majors and look at the unique curriculum.
If you’re not sure what’s involved in each of those special courses, it’s time to do a little more legwork. Go online and sign up for beginner’s web classes to get a feel for what you’ll be doing.
For instance, engineering has multiple majors you can choose from. Before you decide on one, invest in a few courses to decide which avenue is the most interesting to you.
5. Look at the Statistics
No matter how passionate you are about a career path, the reality is that you’ll have to make a living at it someday. To support yourself, plus a family sometime in your future, the major you choose has to be employable.
These will tell you more about how much you can expect to make annually in your geographical location. They’ll also show you how many jobs are available currently and the projected rate of growth in that industry.
6. Check into the Requirements
Every major has different requirements. Before you sign up for one, make sure you’re okay with those expectations.
Are you looking for a degree that you can be done with in two years, or are you good with a long education path? Do you have to have a college degree to do the job you want, or would a certification be enough?
You might be surprised where the job of your dreams leads you. A lot of industries today look for employees with the skills, not necessarily the degree.
7. Look Into the Job Satisfaction Rates
The best way to get to know how happy you’re likely to be with the major you are debating on is to ask those who are already in the field.
You might not know anyone with that job currently, but you can still get the details. Check into a few Reddit threads or follow some Twitter feeds that relate to the major you’re looking into.
Research the job satisfaction rates that go with that major. If you’re not totally sold yet, look at the highest paying jobs with satisfied employees. You might get a completely new perspective!
8. Find Out What Schools Offer That Major
You’ve probably heard a lot of your peers choose their college path based on the school they want to attend. This is not always the smartest course of action. Not all colleges offer every major possible.
Instead of focusing on the school name and prestige, look for those that offer your major and have a good reputation for producing high-quality graduates in that field.
9. Pick Your College
With the list of colleges that cater to your chosen major, the final step is here. Narrow down your search to only those schools in the geographic location you prefer.
From there, check into things like course and degree tuition, housing, and other fees. When you find the schools within your budget, start analyzing the admissions requirements to make sure you qualify.
When you have your final list of colleges, start sending out applications. You now have a major and a college in your sight!
Choosing a major isn’t always as easy as knowing what you want to do with the rest of your life. There’s nothing wrong with you if you haven’t decided yet!
Now is the time to start looking into that college path, though. With these nine steps, your degree major is right around the corner.