Choosing A Major

Choosing A Major

Choosing a major of study can be the first ‘major’ decision in a young person’s life. It can have far-reaching implications setting up the start of your adult life. Seems daunting, doesn’t it? Well, with some research and discussion with family and close friends, it doesn’t have to be. Like all major decisions in life, you have to keep in mind what will you keep you happy and what will keep you sustainable. That being said, here are three major talking points to get you started: Your Goals, Your Strengths and Income Potential.


The first step in the process of choosing a major is to analyze yourself. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years…20 years? In high school, you are too young to imagine the array of jobs available to you, but you should have an idea what field or direction you would like to study. Set goals for yourself – both long-term and short-term. And work for those goals! They should be ambitious and bold but realistic and attainable with hard work. Completing a long-term goal is very satisfying and a great experience. Your goals should involve all aspects of your life and have varying time lines. For example: in 8 years I want to be living in New York City. Or: next semester I want to raise my GPA into the honours list. The individual goal is not important, the importance is having goals!

Choosing A Major3Strengths

Strengths are important when choosing a direction to study. Obviously you want to be the best at what you do, so it makes sense to choose a direction that you excel in. It would be unwise for someone who hates and struggles with Mathematics to choose a degree in Math, but someone who enjoys Mathematics and is strong at it, would find a degree in Mathematics very rewarding and enjoyable. Perhaps more important than being predominantly good at something, you should choose your degree based on what you enjoy. If you’re planning on investing the next 4 years of your life, not to mention thousands of dollars, studying a subject, you should better well enjoy doing it! Like everything in life, to succeed with your major takes hard work and practice. It is better to be doing something you’re good at and enjoy then something you don’t.

Income Potential

As important as choosing a major that interests you and you enjoy, one must plan for the future. Part of that planning involves a level of financial security. You have to remember that (for the most part) higher education is a privately-owned business. Our society is reaching a point where some undergraduate degrees do not provide job opportunities for young adults – where it may be more worthwhile for a young adult to locate an apprenticeship for a trade program than to obtain certain undergraduate degrees. One must also assess their lifestyle, as this will directly affect their choice of degree. If you are an extravagant person, needing a higher income to survive, you will have to choose a degree with a higher income potential. It is difficult to predict where the jobs will be in 4 or 5 years, but keep in mind occupations that keep our society running. Occupations that will survive cuts in an economic downturn or financial disaster are the jobs that will provide the most security.

Choosing A Major2Key Points

The most important piece of advice a young adult may receive is to pick something that motivates you and keep moving! You may hate your degree or job at the current moment but that is no reason to call it quits. As an adult every job, degree or assignment, is a life experience and a stepping stone to the future. This is especially true for young adults without an idea as to what they’d like to be doing for an occupation. It’s great if by 16 you know you want to be a firefighter for the rest of your life, but for those who are unsure, it might be as a result of not getting out there and seen the working world. There are thousands of jobs out there that you have no idea exist. Diversify yourself by what you enjoy and what you are good at and work hard, and success will follow.