By the SMU Social Media Team
When faced with a plethora of choices, we sometimes struggle to make a good, informed decision. University life is the time when you’ll find yourself presented with numerous majors to choose from, but how and where do you begin? In deciding to pursue an undergraduate education, there are many factors that have played a part in your decision to further your education. Most often, these factors include picking up knowledge and skills, and a degree that will aid in your job search and career progression — hopefully allowing you to earn a comfortable living.
So here are 5 questions that will help you pick a major (or second major) that best reflects your personal passions and boosts your financial health:
1. What are your interests? How can they come together?
Reflect on your interests, strengths, and beliefs. Have a think about what you truly believe in and want to achieve, and you will most likely be able to excel in that field. If you have a talent in speaking and your passion is in giving a voice to people, you might consider majoring in law, where you can represent people who need your help and be their voice.
2. What is the goal? Is it sustainable?
Think of your choice as a business decision. As with most businesses, profitability and revenue is a key priority. Remember: The most popular majors may not be the most lucrative. Your degree should be a pathway to you having a successful career with a comfortable income, so plan carefully and choose your major with that goal in mind, but make sure you’ll be able to see it through.
3. Are the skills transferable?
Choose a major that will equip you with useful and transferable knowledge and skills. It’s not uncommon for graduates or working professionals to end up working in an industry or role that is unrelated to their major or degree. While it is certainly possible to switch industries, a smart move would be to pick a major in which you will learn easily transferrable skills. Accountancy, for example, is a promising path and equips you with skills that can be applied in any company, and in any industry.
4. What do experienced third-parties around you say?
When trying to choose a major, it can be helpful to ask for an outside opinion of a third-party, be it a family member, a close friend, or an academic advisor. It’s best to speak with someone who knows you well as a person, or who has followed your academic progress, for them to be able to effectively evaluate the pros and cons of each major choice. Speaking with a third-party may also help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, interests and dislikes, and allow you to discuss what might be suitable for you in terms of character, skill, knowledge, and other talents and abilities.
5. Can you see yourself doing it for the next 10 years?
Imagine yourself as a professional in the industry. Can you picture yourself, 10 years after graduation, as a working professional in the industry related to the major you’re considering? While it’s easy to go for majors that might open pathways into lucrative industries such as banking and finance, many aspiring undergraduates tend to overlook other aspects when it comes to making such a decision.
Like the findings reported by many other research papers, this article by Fortune explains that members of Generation Z entering the workforce are likely to job-hop if they are not engaged or passionate about the work they are doing. Therefore, keep in mind your interest in the work you will be doing should you pursue a career related to your chosen major, and consider if you would make a good fit, especially in the long run. Passion goes a long way, and if you love the work you do, there’s a good chance of success and earning a comfortable amount to keep your bank account happy!