Career Advice for Job Seekers

The College Major—Making the Right Choice for the Right Reasons

William Frierson AvatarWilliam Frierson
July 30, 2012

While college is very much about living in a dorm room, eating various forms of microwavable food, and staying up for 24 hours straight in the library, it is also about discovering your passions, exploring your every academic interest, and learning who you want to be in your professional future. That being said, one of the most difficult and unnerving aspects of our college days is the process of choosing a major. As young 18 to 20 year olds, nothing is more daunting than thinking about the academic topic that seemingly decides the rest of your future. Today, students are faced with even more difficult decisions and challenges than ever before. As our national and global economy continue to falter, student loan debt mounting at an all-time high, and jobless numbers staying steadily high, even more pressure is being put on young undergrads to make the “right” choice. Don’t be blindsided by crashing economies and lucrative careers, consider these tips to choose the right major for the right reasons.

Explore Your Options

For most of us, there is basically no other opportunity in life where we can study and explore any academic topic that strikes our fancy. This is what college is all about. While the pressures of finding a job and earning enough to pay off student debt do exist, there is no point in not making the most of the education those loans are buying you. As newbie college students, you should use this time to explore your academic and professional options. Take classes you would have never considered, take a class you’ve never heard of, and explore topics you’ll only be able to learn about in a college setting (I took a class Ancient Seafaring in college—and it rocked). Use this time to gather as much knowledge and experience as you can. Move out of your comfort zone. College is the time in which we are supposed to stretch our boundaries. Use this time to discover who you are and what interests you. You may just find that that seemingly random Greek Mythology course awakened your appetite for the Classics and your love of History.

Be Passionate

Don’t ignore your true passions. If you’re passionate about a subject and you love studying it, why wouldn’t you major in it? The concerns of finding a career outside of your brick and mortar dorm room walls, won’t ease with an unwanted degree in finance or business. Choosing your major based on what truly inspires you and truly interests you is a much better path to take than choosing a major for its earning potential in the working world. Choose a major that you’ll actually enjoy completing. The key to truly being successful in your professional life after college is being passionate about what you do. If you are truly inspired by your major and you find work that involves what you studied, you will likely be more successful in that profession. We work harder and care more about work that excites and interests us.

It’s Not the Be All, End All

Finally, it’s important that college undergraduate students realize that your college major isn’t the be all end all. Though in many ways it is built up to be the determining factor of your entire professional future, many degree holders find positions and happy careers outside of the field they actually received there degree in. Employers are actually much less particular about what major you completed than many young students realize. Employers are interested in people who’ve earned degrees and are passionate about their work. You shouldn’t think that a degree in English means you have to do something related to English literature in your career. Most professions are more about the skills you’ve learned in your degree program rather than the facts and figures you studied and memorized.

Samantha Gray, who has attended both traditional and online schools for her college education, understands the value of a bachelor’s degree. She is now a freelance writer who enjoys guiding readers through the sometimes labyrinthine process of pursuing a college education and a rewarding career. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact Samantha at

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