College Major or Major on Colleges

From an International Student's Perspective

Choosing a major or college can be a daunting process, one that has no clear-cut answers. However, it is imperative to always consider the basis of our previous article “Things we should know before studying Abroad” as a guide to this article: ask for direction and know your choices. In essence, explore.

I personally pondered deeply “where would I go to college?” and “what would I do in college?” It ate me up inside, I spent hours upon hours on the net searching for ideas, and I threw my applications out there without knowing exactly what I wanted to study or where to study it. My mind was clouded by other people’s perception of how a top-class private college can turn a “normal folk” into a millionaire (see Marissa Meyer, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, etc.). I started to research the topic more and more: what is more important? The college or the major? I kept asking myself whether an employer would look more at the college I attended or the major I selected (thus, my skillsets) when I graduate. Ultimately I decided, and firmly believe, that the major you select should determine the college you attend and not the other way around.

So many people will advise you to follow your heart’s passion, and I really second that; your passion is important to consider when deciding what major to pursue and, ultimately, what college to attend. However, there is more to passion than just chasing a dream. It should ultimately help you sustain your life and that of your family in the long run. It should amount to something more than just a feeling: perhaps a tangible skill that can be used to gain employment or put you in a position to employ others.

Four years in college is a very high opportunity cost in terms of both time and money. Should you not enjoy the major you selected, or, worse off, if you survive college and realize you have no interest in the job it prepared you for, it becomes a life sentence! But it’s important to remember that this is your decision to make; take ownership!

While this shouldn’t entirely influence your decision, a little thought about the job market forecast sometimes helps determine your major of interest.  Consider the past and current job market trends in the selected field: are they growing or shrinking? Either way, one has to understand that the job market is highly volatile. What used to be the best job 10 years ago may not even be important today.

In conclusion, I have come to the understanding that while having a prestigious college on your resume can be really enticing, a more rewarding experience is finishing college knowing full well that you are confident, passionate, and excited about your major and future prospects. Focusing on the college major should come first.  Then you can focus on which college to attend and the financials of the college experience. So what comes first to you? College, or major?   FB SU Logo

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