College is an exciting in your life in which you have the opportunity to explore many ideas and career options. It’s also an expensive time in your life. While you’re figuring things out, the clock is ticking and costs keep rising. You might not be ready to declare a major the first day you set foot on campus as a college freshman, but the sooner you do so, the more you can focus on your chosen area. If you’re pursuing a career in business, here are a few things to keep in mind as you choose your major.
Keep Your Perspective
It’s great if you go off to college, fall in love with your major right away and graduate into a high-paying job that you love. The truth is that experiencing some bumps along the way is much more common, and you may well change careers several times in your life before you retire. In particular, if you’ve started down the path of a particular major and you hate it, you might as well stop now rather than later even if it means adding a semester or two to your time in college. Taking out a little more in student loan debt now to switch to a path that’s better suited for your aptitude and interests is better than spending years in a field and a job you hate. Keep in mind that you can take out private student loans to pay tuition fees in addition to any federal aid you are eligible for. Although some private student loans require a cosigner, there are some that do not.
General Versus Specialized
A more specialized business degree may be more valuable than a general one because it can equip you with a particular set of skills or may prepare you to take certification exams. Majors in finance or accounting are good examples. In contrast, a degree in general business might signal to potential employers that you lack focus or ambition. In fact, if you want to work in the business world but are unsure of what sector you want to be in, you may want to combine a minor in business and some relevant internships or work experience with a liberal arts degree that gives you a wide base of knowledge and strong communication, critical thinking and other soft skills.
One approach to career counseling involves looking at the kind of lifestyle you would like to have instead of starting with job descriptions. For example, do you prefer working independently or remotely? Marketing or sales might be good fits. Do you want to work for a large or small business? What kind of company do you want to work for? Is what industry the company is in important to you, or is it your role in the company that you are mainly concerned about? How much does work/life balance matter to you? Do you want a job with a lot of travel? With the answers to these questions in mind, you might want to talk to your professors, your advisor and any mentors you have about the majors that would be a good fit.