Most young people go through moments of many doubts when choosing major in higher education. This situation is quite recurrent, either due to pressure from family members or even due to the insecurity of having to make such an important decision.
But there is no need to despair. The ideal is to find ways to make this phase go more smoothly so that the choice is as conscious and correct as possible.
With that in mind, we have listed out some factors that every student should take into account before choosing a major in college. So, be sure to read the following tips and reflect on each one!
1. What Are Your Interests?
The first step – and perhaps the most important of them – is a good dose of self-knowledge to assess what your tastes, skills and preferences are within the areas of study.
Being able to identify these points makes all the difference so that you are not a frustrated student and a dissatisfied professional in the future. After all, all of these influences our happiness.
So, start to think better about your personality, the disciplines you most identify with, the types of activities you would like to do, in short, everything that can help in defining a professional path. It may seem trivial, but it is common to forget our personal goals when we try to define ourselves as professionals.
So, reflect on your personality, what you like to do, your skills, your values and interests. Make a list of what makes you happy and put everything; activities you like to do with your friends in your free time, favorite subjects at school, films and books that most caught your attention, what is the importance of financial stability for you, etc.
From then on, you must research better about the course options within the chosen branch.
2. Labor market trends
Having an overview of how the job market is doing is also essential, as you will probably need a job or opportunities to start your business. Therefore, even if you have a dream in mind, try to find out what are the prospects for that area, if the market is saturated, what types of professionals and differentials are being requested, among other aspects.
All of this contributes to making your choice more conscious. Therefore, it is worth doing research on the internet, reading magazines, talking to trained professionals and looking for any other types of references to support your decision.
At that time, try to reconcile the results of the researched trends with your wishes and preferences. Taking a course that is “in fashion” can be a mistake, as well as investing in something that doesn't have a lot of future just because you like it so much – in that case, it might be better to keep it as a hobby.
3. Course curriculum
Knowing what you are going to study when choosing a college degree is like reading a book summary or a film synopsis. Such a measure allows you to have an idea of what lies ahead during the years dedicated to studies. In fact, this is often the decisive factor for you to be enchanted by the course or give up on it instead. But it is good not to create so much expectation, because, even if it is an area of interest to you, there will always be one discipline or another that is not so pleasant – that is, do not be discouraged by it!
4. Practice areas
What am I going to do after I graduate? Nowadays, the professions are very broad and full of opportunities. This means that, if you take the Language course, for example, you will not necessarily be a teacher in the field. Therefore, analyze what the job options that the courses you are thinking about are.
5. Areas of specialization
Perhaps the formation of the course does not immediately guarantee the career of your dreams, but, still, check if the specialization alternatives within your area will not be able to help you to get where you want. It is interesting to think about the long term right now, as you may have many years of work ahead of you. Do not even think that you will have to be totally stuck in you with your first major for the rest of your life – dissatisfaction is one of the first steps to make one take a look at other specializations and find new opportunities.
6. Average professional remuneration
You can't deny that financial remuneration is most often an important factor, right? Especially because the responsibilities tend to increase over time, and the bills always arrive. Not to mention that maintaining a good standard of living, with quality and comfort, is an aspiration of many people – especially those who want to form a family, guarantee a good future for their children or simply travel the world.
Salary may not be the most decisive point, but it is also relevant. Therefore, it is worth relying on the internet to research how the average remuneration of a professional in the area is doing.
7. Institutions offering the course
If you finally have an idea of which course (or which courses) you want to take, the next step should be to look for which educational institutions offer vacancies so that you can start your studies.
At this point, it is essential to consider some factors such as location, quality of education, infrastructure, reputation in the job market, among others.
For this, the internet can once again be a good ally for you to research the rankings of institutions and learn a little more about them.
8. Financial viability
After finding good options in the education market, check what the costs involved when choosing each one is. This can be a determining factor for you to choose between one or the other.
Therefore, estimate expenses to analyze the financial viability of taking a course at an X or Y institution. Find out about tuition prices, cost of living, financing options, etc. For example, moving to another city to study at a public university can end up being more expensive than choosing a private institution – so stay tuned and do not disregard this step.
9. Opportunities offered by the institution
In addition to the quality of teaching, there are other factors offered by the college that can be quite attractive. Among them are the opportunities for mentoring, internship, scientific initiation, exchange partnerships etc.
These extra activities enhance the student's training and experience in the academic environment. If you think about opening a business, for example, be sure to consider institutions that have a small company.
10. Selection processes
Finally, do not waste time and find out how the selection process of the chosen institutions is. The sooner you start preparing, it will probably be better to secure your spot.
Bonus Tips on How to Choose a Major
- Find out about professions and careers: Before choosing a profession, please get to know it very well. It may seem like repetition, but it is the truth. It is interesting to eliminate myths and get to know the real reality of the professions. Please get to know what that professional does in their daily lives, their area of expertise, how the market is for the profession, how the course, etc.
If you are in doubt between two or more professions, knowing them well makes it easier to choose the one that has the most to do with your profile.
- Talk to trained professionals through interviews: Now that you have been informed about the profession's theoretical part, also try to talk to trained professionals to get to know the practical part. If you want to take a medical course, visit hospitals and clinics, observe the doctors' routine, and, if possible, ask the professionals questions.
- Read up on majors: learning and reading about different matters concerning your potential college major help you stay abreast of developments in that field. Get to know what is happening in the universe of your profession. For example, if you want to do Computer Science, research the new programming techniques, on the new computers that are emerging, on the new companies that are developing, etc. This will help you also test your affinity for that profession. The better you know about the universe of your future profession, the more you will see if you have an affinity with the area.
- Take a vocational test: It can help a lot in choosing a course in college, and it is also valid for other moments of our professional life (when planning a sector change, a promotion, or even retirement).
Many universities and colleges offer vocational guidance free of charge, usually organized by the Psychology department. Some psychology clinics also provide this service.
- Listen to podcasts: Another method of choosing a college major is listening to podcasts if you don't fancy reading articles. Listening to podcasts is a beautiful way to explore your potential chosen field. Aside from that, it also gives room for you to multitask.
- Local college events: Another way to choose a college major is by attending lectures about that field, which is majorly possible if you stay around a college. By doing so, you will understand more about the area and the professionals in that field.
When choosing your profession, remember that they all have their positive side and their harmful side: Medicine can be an impressive career that saves lives and cures diseases, but it will require a lot of effort and sacrifice from the doctor, who has who study for several years and often need to leave their home and family to attend emergencies. Choosing the right profession depends a lot on the lifestyle you want to lead.
We hope these tips will help you decide quickly what you want to major on in college as it is not an easy decision to take. Regardless of the level, you find yourself, remember that it is not too late to start planning ahead for that college major.
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