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How to Choose a Major Subject in Colleges: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Choose a Major Subject

Major Subject selection is crucial for shaping your career. Read more about how to select a major, the advantages and disadvantages of Major Subject Selection, the importance of choosing the right major, and the scope of majoring in a specific field.

When you start college, you make many decisions, such as choosing your college, course type, entrance exam, etc. However, the major you select for your degree can have a significant impact on your career as a whole. The decision can be difficult, especially if you are still determining what you want to do in the future. However, if you carefully examine your options, it becomes easier to decide.
 

What is a Major Subject? 

As a student, you select and enrol in a major at your university. A major comprises a group of related courses that provide you with a comprehensive understanding of a particular field of study. You can also specialise in a specific area of study in many majors. This allows you to understand the subject better and develop your skills.

Apart from the learnings, the major subject selection also plays an integral part in your grade system. Colleges usually provide two types of grades, such as GPA and major GPA.
 

GPA

The GPA is a weighted average of all your grades in every class, including electives and mandatory courses outside your major. The overall GPA is used more frequently than the major GPA.

Major GPA:

A major GPA is the sum of the credits earned in all classes you have taken for your main subject. A major GPA is crucial when you wish to be admitted to your honours within your major or to an advanced degree program. It can be a compelling factor for internships or jobs; for example, if you are majoring in English literature, you can quickly get into writing or editing internships or jobs.

Major Subject and Career Opportunities: 

Stream 

Major subject 

Job opportunities 

Arts

English 

  • Copywriter
  • User experience (UX) writer
  • Editor
  • Social media manager
  • Consultant

Arts 

Psychology

  • Psychologist
  • Neuropsychologist
  • Consultant

Commerce 

Marketing

  • Marketing assistant
  • Digital marketing manager
  • Marketing coordinator
  • Marketing manager
  • Brand manager

Commerce 

Finance

  • Financial planner
  • Financial analyst
  • Investment banker
  • Budget Analyst
  • Actuary

Science 

Nursing

  • Legal nurse consultant
  • Emergency room nurse
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Neonatal nurse
  • Caretaker 

Science 

Computer science

  • Software developer
  • Computer engineer
  • Web developer
  • Database administrator
  • Information security analyst


 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Major Subject Selection:

Like any other study decision, major subject selection will impact your academic performance and career journey. Here are some pros and cons of selecting a major subject.
 

Advantages of Major Subject Selection:
 

  • Expertise in the subject 

The course curriculum is designed based on your major subject. That means you'll have practical and theoretical sessions about your major subject. In addition to your projects, internships, and core learning of the subject, you are paving your way to becoming an expert in the field.
 

  • Achieving a competitive advantage

In academics and the job market, you will have a competitive advantage against the crowd as you get expert-level knowledge and skills in the major subject. This opens up the job market as employers look for subject experts. Additionally, it gives you an edge in the job market as you have a deeper understanding of the subject.
 

  • Networking 

In recent times, professional connections are crucial for career and skill development. For example, staying in contact with your professor or college colleagues can result in referrals for new positions, invitations to seminars or webinars and mentorships. 
 

Disadvantages of Major Subject Selection:
 

  • Knowledge is limited to a subject 

The coursework you are taking is primarily focused on the major subject selection. Hence, you will get expertise in a single subject, but compared to other general degrees, you might miss out on the basic learning of other subjects. For example, a B.Com general degree owner will know economics, marketing, accounting, auditing, etc, while a B. Com Honours in Accounting degree holder will have expertise in accounting & auditing.
 

  • Stagnant professional life

Students will likely only be able to interact with professionals within the major community, which limits their professional network and can result in fewer growth opportunities outside the fraternity.
 

  • Vacancies are scarce

Yes, you read that right! Even if someone has expertise and skills in the major, they might face difficulties getting jobs if their niche major isn't in trend. Also, having one major subject of expertise can be a hurdle to moving to higher positions. For example, the company will promote a guy with technical and managerial skills to the manager level rather than a guy with just a technical background or managerial skills.
 

Why is choosing a major important?

Selection of a major is a crucial decision that has a significant influence on a student’s academic and career opportunities. For example, if you select accounting as your major, you can start your career as an accountant or data entry operator and eventually go on to higher positions such as chief accountant, auditor, or financial advisor. It directs career growth by setting the theme of your educational journey. Here are some reasons choosing a major is crucial: 
 

  1. Customised Curriculum and Learning Experiences

Major selection determines the course outline. Students who choose the major based on their interests and goals will find the course curriculum suitable for their specific needs and have a tailored learning experience. 
 

  1.   Employment Opportunities

The major subject selection affects your career prospects. Only some majors are highly in demand or have grand pay scales, while some may have limited career opportunities and growth. If your major matches your career aspirations and recent job trends, you can secure job opportunities as soon as you finish your graduation.
 

  1. Expertise and domain skills 

Through a major, you can have specialised knowledge and skills in a particular field. With this expectation, you will be able to gain a deeper understanding of the subject, making you stand out from the crowd. Your expertise will differentiate you from other candidates in the job market.
 

  1. A fulfilling life

A major that aligns with your interests and values can be a great way to grow and fulfil yourself. It allows you to explore your passions, pursue your interests, and have fun. It can also make you happier and healthier to pursue a major that aligns with your passions.

Now that you understand the importance of selecting a major for your higher education, consider asking yourself some questions to help determine which major would be ideal for you.


Ask yourself!

If you have a clear idea about what subject you want to major in, that’s good for you, as all you need to do is collect the information and work on your admissions. But if you don't have clarity about major selection and how it will impact your career in the future, ask yourself the following questions:
 

  1. What is your priority right now?

Students select their major based on salary potential and job demand or passion. Based on their priorities in life, students can determine whether to follow a passion or the recent job market. Apart from passion, students should also consider their economic advantage, interest level, and skill set.
 

  1. What interests you?

What topics excite you? Which subject interests you most? What subject do you see yourself pursuing for the longer term? Think about it, and you will know about the subject that interests you. These answers will guide you to the right major for your career path. 

You should also keep in mind that not all interests and passions make for a career; for instance, if you are passionate about taking care of people but cannot handle blood, you may not make a good nurse or caregiver.
 

  1. What is your strength?

Exploring your strengths can guide you on a career path, and your skills & talents can help you make informed and confident life decisions. You must be honest about your strengths and weaknesses and consider the opinions of your close friends, teachers, and others who know you well. For example, if you are proficient at painting, you can make a career in graphic design.
 

  1. What Are the Highest-Paying Fields?

You should consider how important salary will be in the decision-making process when deciding which major to pursue. You can also check the highest-paying jobs in your field. For example, you can consider STEM-related fields one of the highest-paying industries.
 

  1. What are your future goals?

While determining your career and major subjects, consider your vision and values for the future. Ask yourself, what kind of life do you want to live? What type of working experience and position are you aiming for in your career? Consider these questions when selecting a major. You might discover that you can achieve your future goals through a major you had not considered before.
 

  1. How tough will the coursework be?

Students should also consider attendance, homework loads, course expectations, and exam frequency. The classes you take in your major will take up a large portion of your college course load. Before you declare a major, understand how rigorous your week-to-week schedule will be. 
 

  1. What advice does your Academic Advisor give you?

If you still don't know what major you want to take, consider asking your Academic Advisor for advice. As the academic advisor is used to having similar conversations with many students, they can assist you in your decision.

If you answer these questions and consider the advice of your career counsellor, you can choose major subjects that will enrich your career.


Optional College Major Choices

If you are still on the fence about your major? Here are some other options to consider:

  • Design Your Own Major

In recent years, many institutions, universities, and colleges have offered "Design your own major” options. Students can enroll in individualised or interdisciplinary programs to take courses from different majors to achieve their career goals.

You can also approach your advisor or professor to choose your courses and fulfil the institutional requirements. You need to select a college that offers “designing your own major " or " Individualised Learning Plan” options.
 

How to Design Your Own Major?

To start with 'The Individualised Learning Plan,' follow these steps:

  1. Submit the ‘statement of purpose'. What is the purpose of your study, such as what are you hoping to learn, and why can't you learn it in your current program?
  2. Showcase your ‘learning goals’. Identify a clear learning plan, which cannot be done without clear learning goals, and translate your broad interests into specific learning goals.
  3. Prepare a detailed course plan in which you can explain in detail how you will achieve your learning goals. You can also put an outline of how your course will help you to meet specific academic goals.
  4. Students shall fulfil the additional requirements. 
  • Give course descriptions
  • Academic permissions or signatures of faculty members and approval by key departments shall be submitted in written or electronic form.
  • If you are not admitted to Individualised Studies, you must indicate on the application what major you intend to pursue.

Students should note that the 'design your own major’ application process can differ from institution to institution.
 

  • Choosing a Double Major

Double majors require you to complete the necessary credit hours for two undergraduate degrees at your university. You can determine whether a double major is right for you by asking yourself if having two degrees would give you an edge in your career path. Determine whether you can earn two degrees at your school. In addition, students with double majors spend more time earning their degrees, which leaves less time for other academic and extracurricular activities. Make sure you are passionate about these subjects.
 

  • Attending a Minor

Consider taking a minor course if you are also interested in other subjects rather than the significant course you opt for. If you add a minor to your major, you will have fewer credits, more flexibility in your schedule, and more choice over which courses you take within your second subject area than double majoring. A minor can also demonstrate to future employers that you have interests and knowledge outside your major field. 


The scope of majoring in a specific field

In today's job market, employers seek employees with exceptional skill sets in niche fields who have expertise and can provide unique solutions. Selecting a major that aligns with your interests and strengths can allow you to explore different career paths and develop additional skills.


 

FAQs

  1. Can you change your major?

It depends on the institution you are admitted to. Most institutions allow you to change majors within the course duration.

  1. Does it look bad to colleges if you apply with an undecided major?

Colleges generally want prospective students to think carefully about their decision before enrolling in any major if they are unsure about their choice. So, most colleges will accept your major application.

  1. What should you do if you can't decide on a major?

It is important to consult an academic counsellor when choosing a major. Students should also take a few classes in a subject they are interested in to better understand the topic.

  1. Can I do a double major?

Several institutions offer double major courses for students who wish to take additional subjects or acquire skills.

  1. Is passion a key factor in selecting a significant subject?

Yes, selecting the major based on your interest can benefit the learning process. However, make sure that you check out the major's financial and current market trends. 


 




 

 

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