Since we’ve briefly discussed the 5 things we wish we would have known in high school, we want to expand on one of the five: exploration. Specifically, we want to look at that age-old debate that requires some exploration—what’s more important to consider? The college to attend, or the major to pursue? Like many things in life, the answer may be, “it depends.” It depends on if you know what you want to do. It depends on your financial situation. It depends on your family history. It just depends. One could even argue that both are important: it’s important to choose the major that is the best fit for you, but it’s also essential to attend the university that best suits your needs. But for the sake of a good debate, we argue that the right major is more essential than the right college.
We’ve heard it over and over again: a degree is a degree. Getting your degree at a smaller college, rather than a large public university, will likely not negatively impact your future career prospects. What is important is that you chose the right major and you gained the proper experience and skillsets needed to excel in your desired field.
We are firm believers that your choice of major should drive your college choice. Though knowing what college is right for you may be critical, not all colleges offer the same programs. Every school is known for different academic programs and has different reputations. Knowing what you’re interested in can help you select a school with a top-notch program in that area.
Think of it this way: the major you choose can affect the rest of your life, but you’ll only attend a college for (ideally) four years for a bachelor’s. It’s making the decision to pursue something that you’re passionate about that will be the bigger decision. Though you may not know exactly what you want to pursue, at least find areas you are interested in. Once you know what those interests are, you can use them to guide your college choice by targeting schools that at least offer the various programs that suit your interests. When you have that list, you can afford to be a bit pickier. Go ahead and choose a university from a host of other reasons with the confidence it will offer you what you truly need: that degree. The same one that will open the door to your dream job. But completing this process the opposite way—college then major—might not be as successful.
If you choose a college based on reputation before considering your major, you may be unpleasantly surprised to learn it doesn’t offer what you ultimately want, or that its program isn’t as competitive as the school you never gave serious consideration to. In this instance, a transfer might be in order. But in the end, you’ll still be pursuing what you’re passionate about, and that’s what’s most important in this debate, isn’t it? But keep in mind, the longer you stay, the more you’ll pay (but more on finances later). So what’s right for you? Major or College?