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January 24, 2011

Undecided? No Problem! Advice on Choosing A Major

This post originally appeared on http://thecamspuscompanion.com and was written by a staff writer.

dream job sign

Unsure of your future? Tired of being asked by mom/dad/your grandparents/the nearest adult within a 10-foot radius what you’re majoring in and responding with “Well, I’m giving it a lot of thought, but I’m not sure?” Then you came to the right place!

In order to best approach this situation, you need to ask yourself a very simple question. Ready? All right, here we go:

“What do I love to do?”

Now, this may sound cliché, but it’s the honest truth! As Confucius once said:

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

…And he’s right! Choosing a major is a lot simpler than you might think! Picture yourself doing your favorite thing (whatever it may be) for a living. Now that you’ve done that, consider what type of education would most benefit you when pursing said interest.

(more here)

There are, of course, other considerations that you must factor into your choice of a major. One of the most obvious factors is the current state of the economy. No matter what time we live in, an understanding of the current world economy is essential to planning one’s educational path.


(put stuff here about each *major* major type)


Okay, so maybe there isn’t one subject that you absolutely love. If this is the case, consider instead:

“What am I good at?

What comes most easily to you and requires minimal effort on your part? Have you always had a proficiency for numbers, perhaps? Are you an exceptionally good writer? Do you regularly keep tabs on the stock market and balance your personal budget wish ease? All of these are useful skills in any number of careers.

Always keep in mind that if you have a secondary interest or two, such as photography or DJing, you can always try to incorporate them as a side-job.

(add WAY MORE STUFF here about various topics of study, and what skills lend themselves to them. Consider a diagram of some type, if I can find one!)

(ALSO DISCUSS HOW CERTAIN SKILLS ARE USEFUL BEYOND BEING A MAJOR: EX: Psychology is a good skill if you’re a teacher, doctor, in law-enforcement, etc.)

It’s generally been shown that getting a college degree is a good idea:

median earnings


Have a “Plan A”, a “Plan B,” and a “Plan C” if necessary! Know what you’re going to do if things don’t work out the way you’d like them to so that you can bounce back and still have a career that you will enjoy (or that you’ll at least be prepared for).

Studying something you love doesn’t guarantee your success at it! It sometimes takes a great deal of creativity for someone to do exactly what they would like to do for a living. Let’s consider an example:

Let’s say you’ve always wanted to make a living knitting scarves. Take things a step further by considering the creation of a small business (and its growth into a large business if you’re really ambitious!) In accordance with what we’ve discussed earlier, let’s consider what sort of skills you would need to run and possibly facilitate the growth of an online business:

  • Management ability (assuming you have employees; you’ll need them if you plan on having significant product volume and output)
  • Financial Planning/Accounting proficiency
  • A solid understanding of how to market yourself to a chosen audience (Advertising & Marketing)
  • Entrepreneurial ability and a general business acumen
  • Ability to design and possibly host a web site (taking your business online is a must in today’s market).
  • Ability to create the product on a regular basis, and in volume you’ll need for the present and the future.

Next, consider which of these skills you can delegate to hired employees and which you’d like to take care of on your own. To be fair, you could probably  handle most (or even all) of these yourself, but in the long run you’ll need a lot of expertise (and time to invest in gaining that expertise) in order to be effectively competitive.

Now, which college major might we choose to facilitate the development of most of these skills? You may have been mentally shouting it this whole time, so let’s cut to the chase: You don’t necessarily need to major in Business to have a successful company, but it certainly doesn’t hurt! If you’d like to design your own web site, you could major in web design. Or you could simply take the courses that grant you said skills and major in something completely different so that you have an even better chance at getting a job!

One of the biggest concepts to grasp about today’s economy is diversity. Anything that’s anything is going global. Also, from a personal standpoint, having a variety of skills that someone with your major isn’t expected to have can easily enhance how valuable you are to an employer (or to yourself, since you won’t have to pay anyone to do anything!) Be ready and willing to diversify your skill set, as today more than ever people are switching jobs several times throughout their lives.


There’s really one simple idea that I’d like you, dear readers, to take away from this article. There are a lot of things you can do with (or without) a college education (hell, if you develop a marketable skill such as welding, you can make a good bit of money!) –but you’re really setting yourself up for a difficult life if you choose not to get some kind of college degree. In the past, people could get by with a high school diploma, but no more! Employers are lot more likely to take you seriously if you’ve got an education –and they’ll certainly choose you over someone who doesn’t have one at all because having an education speaks to your sense of personal responsibility.

In short, if you’re fortunate to have the chance to get a college degree, do it.


(Original Pic Courtesy of: “The Situationist,” a blog I came across while searching for a good photo to represent indecision. It’s got links to some interesting research about how the mind of an undecided voter works.)

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