With the first year of University for many just around the corner, I wanted to create a Mytake aimed at helping ease some of the anxiety surrounding post-secondary education. Having worked as an academic advisor at a major University here in Canada, I have met with many students who are confused about declaring a major.
What Is A Major?
A Major is an area of concentration which you will focus on learning a specific subject area in depth. Normally, a major is just a portion of the courses you will take in order to earn your degree.
Not sure if a major is right for you or still exploring your options? The good news is that its normal to feel lost and confused about your major!
Over 50% of students change their major at some point during their degree.
Finding The Right Major
The best major for you is the one that matches your interests, values, and academic strengths, including your favorite courses and types of careers that appeal to you. Therefore, it is essential that you have a good understanding of yourself.
There are several different ways you can gain a better understanding of yourself:
1. Type Focus
Type Focus is a method of sorting preferences, therefore, there are no right or wrong answers. When completing the inventory, think about yourself and chose the response that best reflects you how you typically behave.
2. My Next Move
My Next Move is an online assessment that can help you gain a deeper understanding of your interests and potential careers that fit your interests. It will help you learn more about knowledge, abilities, and skills that align with different careers
3. Visit Academic Support at Your University
I strongly urge students to take advantage of their academic support services through their University (after all, you are paying for these services through your tuition, so why not make use of them?). Career counselors and academic advisors can help guide you to choosing the major that is right for you.
Majors and Careers
While some majors have a more direct path to a specific career outcome, many majors have the potential for crossover, meaning you are not constrained to careers within your discipline. Here are some famous examples of career crossovers:
1. Myth: Certain majors lead to specific careers
With some exceptions (such as accounting or nursing) most majors do not lead to specific careers. In fact, 6 out of 10 graduates work in an unrelated field.
2. Myth: Certain Majors lead to high paying jobs, while other majors lead to low paying jobs
The fact is that no major will guarantee a high paying job after you graduate. Finding a job with a good salary depends on many factors, such as the job market, how you market yourself, and your skills and experiences.
3. Myth: Your Major is the most important thing to show from your university experience
Your major is not the only thing you will have to show from your university experience. The classes you take, volunteer experience, part-time jobs, extracurricular activities and participation in campus clubs and organizations will all reflect your accomplishments.
Do What YOU Love!
In the end, my most helpful piece of advice that I can give students is to do what YOU love. Many students are often "pressured" to go to university and pursue a certain field of study from outside forces (parents, friends, high-school guidance counsellors, cultural expectations, etc.). An enjoyable (and successful) university experience starts with you and what you want to do. So enjoy your first year of university and use it as a learning experience, getting to know yourself and exploring your options. And remember, its okay to feel lost; you are not alone!
Stay tuned for my next myTake: Life After High School: What Should I Do?