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The benefits of picking the right major and minor for your career goals

Believe it or not, you start on your career path from college by picking a major. The career center on your campus can be a huge help to you from exploring majors to selecting a minor, and to figuring out what you want to go into as a career. In the meantime, your College Completion Coaches can give you a good overview of majors, minors and certificates to get you started!

First, you need to make sure you choose a major that suits your strengths. Have you struggled in every math class you’ve ever taken? Then perhaps engineering isn’t the best major or career goal for you. Are you better at writing papers than taking tests? Then consider looking into a career in the humanities.

“Throughout your college career, your ongoing mission is to make sure that your degree is giving the edge you need once you enter the job market.”

Be sure to pick a major that supports your career goals. Sometimes it’s obvious; if you aspire to work in engineering, then you should be an engineering major. Do you want to be a therapist? Then engaging in veterinary technician studies is not the path you would want to follow. However, there are often many majors available to support a certain career path. For instance, if you want to work in insurance, you might major in finance, business, or even international affairs.

Picking a major can be a little trickier if you don’t know what you want to do. Your major should line up with not only your interests and passions, but your skills and talents as well. If you are having trouble deciding, ask yourself these two questions:

What am I good at?
What would I like to offer to the world around me?

This decision is often made to sound like an easy one, but sometimes students don’t know where to begin. Luckily, there are resources that can help!

At Take Stock in College, we want to emphasize the importance of locking down your major choice early on. Often times when students switch majors in the latter stages of their academic career, it can cause them to have to stay in college longer – causing a temporal and financial burden. If you have already chosen your major and you’re happy with it, that’s awesome! If you are having second thoughts, these free quizzes and links can be very helpful. 

Still unsure? Make an effort to talk to a professional in a field you are interested in, an instructor of a compelling and relevant class or a person who owns a business in your community. Learning the paths that they followed will help you make informed decisions about your own.

After attending college for a semester or two, you should probably start thinking about how you’re going to make yourself stand out in the job market. Imagine a hiring manager at Big Company™ looking at two resumes for a well-paid entry-level position; both candidates studied the same major at the same school. That hiring manager is going to compare your perceived levels of experience and value to the company based on those two pieces of paper. You want to be the candidate with a diversified resume that shows that your knowledge is wide, that you are adaptable, and that you are ready for that workplace environment. This is why you should consider declaring a minor or pursuing certificates.

Take Stock in College Glossary:
Minor: a secondary academic discipline, which can be an interest complementary or different from the major
Certificates: programs available to students with or without a degree that allow them to obtain a level of expertise in a field Selecting a minor will likely be easier for you than when you selected your major. You can have a minor in something that relates to a hobby of yours or in a subject that complements your major. There are benefits either way. If you choose an interest-based minor, you can show future employers a bit of your personality and passions. If you choose to complement your major, you can show that you are dedicated to learning as much as you can about your field and that you will go further than what is expected of you.

Pursuing certificates is similar in this way. For instance, you may want a coding certificate to pursue your own small business while studying social work. Listed below are some sample Major-Minor pairings available at your school that may interest you. These combinations are endless and you want to use them to your advantage of standing out among the rest. 

Remember Take Stock college scholars, your choices in majors and minors are guideposts leading you down particular paths in your educational journey. It’s important to approach these thoughtfully and deliberately. Don’t hesitate to ask for help! Your College Completion Coaches are here to connect you with your campus career center to explore what careers and majors appeal to your strengths and interests. Let us help you on your journey to success in college, career, and life!

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