How to Choose a College Major

Major Limitations

Declaring your major can be stressful, but it doesn't need to be. The reality is that although a major will certainly play a part in determining your career options after college, it isn't as set-in-stone as you might think. With that in mind, here are a few points to consider when choosing a major:

Choosing a Major Does Not Necessarily Determine Your Career Path

While some jobs do require a very specific degree, the truth is that many people find work in fields not associated with their majors. According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 47% of college graduates' first jobs are not in their area of study, and 32% of US workers say they've never worked in the field that they majored in.

Employers Are More Interested in Ability than in Specific Degrees

It's true that many employers will only consider college graduates for certain positions, however they may not be particular about the type of degree those graduates earned. A survey by the Association of American Colleges and Universities reveals that 93% of employers believe that critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving abilities are more important than undergraduate majors. Employers are looking for individuals with broader skill-sets, making those who have these skills much more attractive as potential hires.

Majors Don't Always Determine Your Salary

More often than not, a college major will have little impact on your starting salary. A PayScale survey of 1.2 million employees with bachelor's degrees and a minimum of 10 years' work experience found that college majors play a small part in determining how much money you'll make during your career.

Different Majors Offer Different Levels of Satisfaction

While majors may not play as big of a role in overall pay, they can play a large part in your future job satisfaction. Job satisfaction may seem like a secondary consideration when compared to earning potential, but consider that it can affect your personal motivation, stress, and general levels of happiness. So, be sure to choose a major that you are genuinely interested in.

Other Factors to Consider

Your passions, interests and talents, the location of available opportunities, and impact you would like to make on the world should all be taken into account before you decide what degree you want to pursue. But, don't let the decision stress you out. Most majors aren't nearly as confining as some people think.