Selecting your Major in College

If you know where you want to end up in life, it’s much easier to chart your course (and determine your course selection). So first I’d suggest taking a personality or interest test administered by your school counselors. And really (and honestly) consider your capabilities and interests. That said:

Want to have money and live comfortably? I hate to say it, but that generally means avoiding the humanities.

Sure, you can probably get a job you can survive on in the humanities (if you interview well and are tenacious)but as necessary as social workers and teachers are-they are undervalued and therefore generally overworked and underpaid. But, if you want to feel you contributed to something greater than yourself and you enjoy the struggles that come with dealing with many various personalities and trying to meet all their needs at once in creative ways-teaching’s great. But you HAVE to love the subject matter, the methodology and the kids in order to truly be good at it. Social workers-lots of paperwork and stress, little pay. Noble work, though. Psychology and psychiatry-also great and noble professions, but do you want to deal with solving other people’s problems every day? Work in psychology can be tough to find, too if you only have a BS. So an additional degree or your MD (making you a psychiatrist) is the better route to go.

Want money to retire comfortably? Are you gifted with science? Got a great memory and don’t mind getting messy? Do you deal well with high stress situations and have steady hands and good insight? Choose a medical profession (ideally doctor). Yes, you’ll come out of school in heavy debt, but if you land a good job, you’ll be able to pay off your schooling pretty fast.

Good memorization and great research habits? Love a good argument and struggling against authority? Look into being a defense attorney. not into defending potential criminals? Prosecute them instead. Both make decent money once you climb the ranks-really good money if you reach partner (generally speaking).

Want money and you’re great with math? Try becoming a CPA, stock trader or financial advisor. Heavy math skills are required, but everyone deals with money, so demand for talented and fast CPAs is always relatively strong.

Want to swim with the dolphins? Ugh-most bright-eyed college students want to be marine biologists, forgetting too quickly that there’s actually BIOLOGY and heavy science involved. Many marine biologists switch majors early on.

Are you a talented artist? Do you like to struggle against society (at least in small ways) and have the self-discipline to run your own business? Get an art degree and try to establish your freelance or gallery-based business. Pick up some business courses on the way, though.

Are you a gifted writer? Do you have a great imagination and enjoy “thinking outside the box?” Do you like refining and polishing your work continually? Do you like research and are you good at meeting deadlines? Get a degree that relates to journalism, English or creative writing. The money can be sporadic unitl you land a steady job, but it can take you exciting places (at least in your mind).

There are MANY options. As the old Greek maxim goes “Know Thyself.” If you know what you want most to accomplish, and understand your strengths and weaknesses realistically, you’ll make an accurate choice early on. Talk to people in professions you’re curious about. look at your family members and friends-any info there? Be very observant and give this careful consideration. It is your life, after all.