Choosing a College Major: Money, Passion or Other? What you Need to Know
Choosing a college major can be a difficult decision to make. While there are some students who are definite about the careers they've wanted to pursue at a very early age, there are some others who are still in the process of figuring things out. Whether you are considering college, have recently been accepted into college or are still in your first two years of college, this post has been written purposely for you.
The great thing about the higher educational system in the United States is, there is no need to rush in declaring a major. Additionally, whatever major you choose to pursue does not necessarily have to be in the same background as your high school education. A major is basically a college or university student's main area of specialization towards the attainment of an academic degree. For most U.S. institutions, at least 120 credits is needed to earn a bachelor's degree with 1/3 of those credits making up one's major. A student however, is expected to declare a major by the end of their sophomore (2nd) year. Being in a continuous state of indecision, and switching from one major to another has the effect of prolonging your stay in school. The longer you stay in school, the more money you will be spending!
The educational system in the U.S. is such that, aside courses required in your major field of study, all students are required to take mandatory general education courses as electives towards the fulfillment of their degree. As such, a student with a declared major in the Sciences will have to take some courses in the Humanities, and those with declared majors in the Humanities will realize they cannot run away from the Sciences after all. However, the great thing about all this is, there are a variety of options you get to choose from as you are never limited to one course option in satisfying general education requirements.
An example of a Degree completion Plan for a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice at Liberty University.
While declaring a major very early in your college career can help you greatly with the planning of your academic journey in terms of class scheduling, course registration, and graduation, beginning college with an undeclared major allows you to explore different areas you may have otherwise not ventured into. By exploring different academic areas, you may realize that you actually do have an interest or skill in a particular field you initially didn't know about. Being able to "test the waters" allows you to make a better and an informed academic decision.
As an international student in the U.S., it is important to note that there are certain majors, mainly in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) field which currently grants at least 3 years' eligibility of work authorization in the country, upon graduation, while all others tend to be only 1 year. Also, there are some majors like nursing which have a higher demand of workers in the U.S. with possibility of U.S employee sponsorship than other majors, making it more easier for nursing graduates to obtain employment than other graduates. Moreso, majors like pre-medicine will require an advanced education to make you more competitive on the market and the cost may not always come cheap. Take personal time out to Research, Research and Research!
In as much as passion and interest propels one to keep going despite the odds, it may not always put food on the table. Granted, there are a number of graduates currently working in fields that have no direct relationship with what they studied in school, but that's not enough reason to follow suit. Before choosing a major, it is paramount to take certain things into consideration, including your life goals. You need to ask yourself certain questions like, "Where do I want to permanently reside in the next 5 years" or "what type of opportunities are there for people like me who have pursued this major" and let that guide you in making a decision. Additionally, reaching out to people who have pursued the field you intend to and asking pertinent questions, as well as seeking mentorship can never be under estimated in helping you reach your desired path.
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