Wednesday, Mar 8, 2023
Considering your strengths, interests and long term goals could help guide your path.
It’s a question every college student must answer: What should I major in? Your choice has important consequences. Choosing the right major will shape your academic experience. It can also be a first step in making your dream job, and perhaps even your dream salary, a reality. While the decision should be handled with care and intention, it’s common for students to switch majors or delay declaring immediately, so don’t be intimidated by the decision.
If you’re just about to start college or your college search, you may be wondering: What is a college major? It’s nothing more than a specific area of study, such as biology, computer science or business administration, that students select and focus on beyond the core curriculum required of all students. (Students may also choose a secondary area of specialization that requires fewer credits, called a minor, to supplement their major.) Majors and minors require specific coursework that students must complete to earn their degree.
Here are some key questions to ask yourself as you consider what you want to major in:
What are my goals?
Setting goals drives behavior, but if you don’t know what you want, you can’t make a plan to acquire it. To set goals, try envisioning where you see yourself and your career in five to 10 years. Consider the steps it will take to get there to create a realistic formula for reaching your goals. While you’re doing this, consider your education and how it connects to your future. When it comes to picking a major, understanding where you want to end up can help you connect how your choice can be a crucial step in achieving your goals.
What are my priorities?
In a post-pandemic world, many people have shifted from a mindset of "what kind of job do I want?" to "what kind of life do I want?" Once you have a vision for your lifestyle, you can focus on an academic plan that leads to a career that supports it. If you’re looking to earn a degree that could be beneficial in many fields or offer multiple job opportunities, a degree program in business may be for you. Interested in a schedule that is family-friendly with flexibility? Education may be a field to consider. If you aspire to a career in the sciences, you may need to include graduate level education in your planning. For adult learners, your choice of major may differ if speed of completion is a priority. Rider's admissions advisors can work with you to determine how many credits you can transfer to any program to help earn your bachelor's degree in less time.
What am I good at?
Identify your talents and you might be one step closer to selecting an appropriate major. Think back to previous courses, even those in high school, and recall where you excelled. Or, consider workplace skills you may have mastered such as planning and organizing, project management, or problem solving to identify a new career path. Capitalizing on your strengths by majoring in a subject you're good at can be a satisfying and rewarding way to grow personally and professionally.
What are my salary expectations?
Earning a college degree generally boosts your earning potential over the course of your career. However, how much you earn can vary widely depending on your major in college. Bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) tend to correlate with higher salaries, but remember that money doesn’t buy happiness. Determining how you can live comfortably with a job that you genuinely like, even if it’s not a top-earning job, will pay off in the long run.
Consider continuing your education at Rider University
Whether you’re an adult learner who wants to go back to school or a new student about to start college, you don’t have to go through the process of selecting a major alone. If you’re at the very beginning, use a tool, such as Rider’s program finder, that can help you discover your options. If you’re a little further along, talk to admissions counselors, faculty and staff and take advantage of their insightful knowledge.
Rider University has the resources to help you discover the right fit and find your path. From our Engaged Learning Program that is designed to assist in your personal and professional development to a guarantee that your college major will pay off with a job or entry into graduate school, Rider’s student support system is designed to help you achieve your goals.
Contact us today for more information.