Whether you find yourself returning to college a second time, or you are beginning your first higher education adventure later in life, you will need to decide what degree to pursue. Some adults know exactly what major interests them, and have a specific plan laid out to help them reach their goal. Other adults may only have a vague notion, or no idea at all, as to what direction they want their degree to take them. If you need help choosing a major, read on for a few tips to get you started on the path to success.
Solicit, and Listen to, Advice from People Who Know You
You may think that you know yourself better than anyone else does, but oftentimes the people who care about you have a different, and possibly more accurate, insight into your personality than you do. For example, you may see yourself as shy, but to others, you appear strong, capable, and friendly. Or, you may believe that you are organized and efficient, when those who are closest to you know that you tend to procrastinate.
If you have friends, family, or co-workers who know you well, ask them for some friendly advice. How do they view your work ethic? What hidden talents do they see? If they could wave a magic wand, what career would they choose for you? Of course, take the advice you receive with a grain of salt, and ultimately make the decision yourself, but you may be surprised at how helpful outside perspectives can be.
Consider Your Purpose as Well as Your Passion
It’s been said that if you choose a career you love you’ll never have to work a day in your life. That may be true, but loving your job doesn’t necessarily pay the bills. If you have always dreamed of being a teacher, but your family budget exceeds the average teacher’s salary, you may need to consider pursuing a higher-paying job. In other words, your existing and future fiscal responsibilities may need to take priority over your dreams.
Be Honest With Yourself
Being a college student can be very challenging. Even majors that are non-technical require hours of homework every day. More challenging fields of study can consume all of your time and energy, leaving little or nothing for yourself and your family. If you have a quick mind, a sharp memory, and unlimited drive, then reach for the stars and select a challenging major. However, if school never excited you when you were young, or you have a lot of other responsibilities, you may be wise to choose a major that will come naturally to you.
Don’t forget that college is just the beginning. Once you’ve graduated and entered the workforce, the real challenges begin. Some careers, like medicine, require more endurance and stamina than others, such as accounting or library science. Before committing to a program, take an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses so that you can set yourself up for success. Know the skills required in your chosen field, such as the ones posted for librarians at USC MMLIS.
Take an Assessment
If you have considered the above recommendations but still need help choosing a major, take a career assessment online or at a college near you. These helpful tests can be used to identify your areas of interest, and can offer ideas for majors that you might excel in. You could be surprised at the results!
Entering college as an adult can be a very exciting step in your career. By knowing your goals and the path to reaching them in the beginning, you can save time and money, and be on your way to a satisfying profession.