Wondering what the secret is to choosing a major?
Join the club. I remember those uncertain days a high schooler. It seemed like no matter how many career path tests I took, I got nowhere in choosing a major for college. The college admission reps didn’t help either.
“So, what do you plan on majoring in?”
“Umm, in major debt?”
Seriously though, we all know the drill that our parents, teachers, guidance counselors, heck…even neighbors recite to us: “Just follow your passions and hobbies & you’ll figure it out!” Well, I’m here to give you some realistic tips and advice to get started on your search to finding a meaningful, realistic, and hopefully financially stable career, and most importantly, the right major.
How To Choose A Career
#1: Google The Crap Out Of Everything.
That’s right. Google is your best friend. Your partner in crime. The Peanut Butter to your Jelly. Say I wanted to see if I should major in pre-law to later become a lawyer, I could google “a day in the life of a lawyer”, or “Lawyer Reality vs. Expectation”. You might stumble upon some great career videos by doing that, just like this one. Creatively using Google to see the day to day realities of your prospective major and career is HUGELY IMPORTANT. After all, whatever you end up choosing and spending 4 years learning, will affect your career after college graduation. I can’t put it in better words than my high school physics teacher, “I never thought I’d have to deal with this when I was in graduate school.” (Referring to the teenage jungle my classroom had become.)
#2: The Bureau of Labor Statistics Website. Use It.
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Also don’t judge this website by it’s boxy, outdated look. This website by the U.S. Department of Labor can help in choosing a major because it has TONS of career info statistics on a wide variety of job fields with things like the percentage that job outlook is expected to grow in the next few years, (which is important if you want to avoid knocking door to door for a job.) Other awesome nuggets of information include the Median Pay, Entry-Level Education, Number of Jobs, and Similar Occupations. Be careful to take things with a grain of salt, because for instance, the Median Pay isn’t always accurate since the salary of someone living in New York is probably going to be higher than one living in Ohio, regardless of the career field, due to the higher cost of living.
You probably never thought your social media stocking skills would come in handy, but it’s crucial to stock the crap out of local businesses and professionals on sites like LinkedIn or through a simple Google search. Write out a script of your personal sales pitch, then call, message, or email people, (whatever the medium) and ask to take them out to coffee or lunch to learn about the job. Pick their brains full of knowledge and experience. Sound a little out of the ordinary for a student? That’s precisely your goal, to be out of the ordinary. It’s a win-win, they get free food, and you get a better idea of what your major would translate into a career. Plus, who knows, if that career continues to sound cool to you, you might have a way better shot at landing an internship with them in the future. And if the career field makes you want to run away, and you don’t end up choosing that major, you don’t ever have to talk to that person again. Nice huh?
Anyway, regardless of where you are in your search for choosing a major, I wish you the best of luck. And if you’re graduating high school soon, don’t sweat it if you can’t quite figure what you want to do for the rest of your life. It’s a heck of a lot to ask for from a 17 or 18 year old. Keep in mind that the average college student changes their major 3 times. So don’t stress and enjoy your youth, because once these “best years of your life” pass, you’ll only be left with the memories, and the tight jeans (or so I hear older people say).