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Three Tips for Choosing a College Major

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The Jindal School offers more than 30 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, so no wonder choosing a major in college can feel like taking a shot in the dark. How can you be sure you’re choosing the right major? To ensure your degree will make you and not break you, we’ve developed a list of the three top tips for choosing a college major, with advice from the associate dean of graduate programs, Dr. Monica Powell.

1. Explore your passions.

What gets your fire going? Do you have a knack for helping others? Are mathematical equations a cinch for you? Examining your passions and interests can help you pick the right path toward a college major and get you started on a career you’re excited about.

Not sure where your passions lie yet? Start attending clubs and meetings related to your interests. Learning more about something is the surest way to find out if you’re interested in pursuing a career in a given field.

If you’re still not sure where to start the search to find what you’re passionate about, Dr. Powell offers this expert advice:

“Study what you like and what you are good at. More often than not students choose majors based on salary. Money is not the primary outcome; job satisfaction and doing a great job are equally as important.”

2. Investigate the logistics

While daydreaming about your dream job can be fun, one of the most important things to consider is the logistics involved in getting a degree. How much time will it take to earn the degree, and how much will it cost? How competitive is the job market in your field of interest, and what kind of salary can you expect to make ten 10 years from now? Determining the answers to questions like these can be a major factor in defining which major is right for you.

Dr. Powell would like to encourage you to also consider the following:

“Think about the places that you enjoy going — all of those are run by companies who hire college graduates. Think about the culture of the organization. For example, flying on Southwest Airlines is always a unique and fun experience. Southwest hires all types of positions and all types of majors. So whether you like math or managing projects, all companies have opportunities for you to land a great position after graduation.”

3. Seek outside help

The Jindal School offers many valuable resources to help you pick a college major; like the academic advising office, or the career management center. Picking the brains of a seasoned professional may give you the push that helps choose a college major that best suits your needs and desires.

Aside from looking to resources within your school, Dr. Powell suggests you seek help from your parents’ friends and colleagues:

“Don’t just choose what you know. One resource that students neglect for career information is the parents of their friends. Chat with them about what they do, why they like it and what types of opportunities exist in their area.”

If you’re still not sure where to start after all of this, take a deep breath. Chances are you’re not the only one stressing over choosing a college major. Sleep on it, talk to your peers and enjoy the ride!

Kelcey Piper

Kelcey's experience extends from search-engine marketing strategy to HTML, to social media management. Kelcey got her BBA in Marketing from Baylor University and is now proud to be a Comet at UT Dallas. Read more articles

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