How to Choose a College Major in a Tough Economy

How to Choose a College Major in a Tough Economy

It’s no secret that times are tough. The bad economy affects not only those in the job market but also college students.

Choosing a college major has never been so important. With education costs increasing, and job opportunities after graduation waning, choosing a college major is critical to your success.

In addition to choosing a college major, it’s also important to graduate as soon as possible. Not so long ago, it wasn’t a big deal if it took you six years full time to obtain your degree.

The reason it took longer than the customary four years was because students had a hard time choosing a college major. Choosing a college major is now critical.

Tip #1: Be Rational

I am going, to be honest with you. While I enjoy my profession and like my job, I didn’t wake up one morning and say to myself “Gee. I want to be an accountant.

Won’t that be FUN??!!” On the contrary. What helped me in choosing a college major was a little bit of old fashioned rationality.

I wanted to see the world. I wanted to speak multiple languages and be well-traveled. I wanted to write – man I always loved to write. I wanted to play my oboe – yes, I played the oboe through my youth.

The perfect career for me would be an oboe-playing international journalist. You can see how choosing a college major would be hard for me given what I love.

Enter International Business. This was my first college major. I was at Harding University in Searcy, AR and among my required courses was beginning accounting.

I would be lying to you if I said the class was dynamic and fun. It was quite the contrary – it was very technical and intense. What inspired me was the instructor. He told us how many career opportunities there were in accounting.

I got online when I got back to my dorm room. It hadn’t dawned on me to think about getting a job after graduation when I was choosing a college major!

Job opportunities for International Business students, particularly those who went to small Christian schools, were limited. Accountants, on the other hand, had plenty of opportunities.

I left Harding University and went to a state school and had no problem choosing a college major there. I started out as an accounting major and graduated three years later. I completed my degree in the customary four years.

I am not telling you to choose a major in accounting. I am telling you to be rational about what you choose. When you are choosing a college major, make sure it’s something you will actually use and will actually pay your bills.

Tip #2: Choose a College Major in Your First Two Years

The first two years of college curriculum is usually general education requirements required of all students. You have about two years to figure out what you want to go in to. When you are choosing a college major, make sure you do so quickly – within your first year or so.

If you don’t know what to do with your life, maybe you should do yourself a favor and drop out of college. Sound harsh? I don’t mean it to. It’s just that you are wasting precious years of your life drifting in uncertainty.

It is quite possible that you can put off choosing a college major, only to end up with a degree in general studies six years later. A degree in general studies will not get you a job when you graduate.

Tip #3: Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

If you have always had a hard time with math, then when you are choosing a college major you really shouldn’t go into statistics or finance. If you have always had a hard time reading, you shouldn’t study French literature. Be honest with yourself and know where your strengths and weaknesses are.

For instance, I would love to be a nutritionist. However, I am chunky. I have slightly bad eating habits that cause my weight to yo-yo 5-15 pounds a year. I would not make a good nutritionist. When I was choosing a college major, I stayed clear of anything to do with physical fitness.

If you choose a college major that offers you great job opportunities after graduation, and you are doing something you have always done well in you will find you will excel.

Tip #4: Know Your School’s Strengths and Weaknesses

When someone chooses a college major such as accounting, the school from which the degree is granted matters very little. As long as you pass the CPA exam, you are qualified for any entry-level job. However, some other college majors aren’t as lucky.

There are some college majors that degree-granting school matters. It may not be fair, but it’s true. I don’t want to cite examples in this article, because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Choosing a college major is tough even when the economy isn’t as bad as it is. With the current economic situation, it’s vital to choose a college major that is reasonable. You go to college to get the training to be able to do something to support yourself for the rest of your life.

Furthermore, you cannot afford to stay in college five, six, or seven years. The exception to this is if you are going into a profession such as dentistry, medicine, or the law.

When you are choosing a college major, stay rational, choose your college major expeditiously (within the first two years), and know both your and your school’s strengths and weaknesses.

If you keep those four ideas in mind, choosing a college major will be one of the best decisions you have ever made in your life.