The Most Important Decision of Choosing a College Major

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It's no secret that choosing the right college major will be an important decision students make during their academic lives. And with tough economic times and enormous amounts of debt to deal with, students have never been more worried about which major to choose, and it seems like college-related pressure has never been greater. Though economic realities can be discouraging, student decisions regarding which major to choose usually should not be affected by economic conditions. What students will need to consider is what they are interested in, what field of study they would succeed in, and their debt situation. They should also remember that there will many careers available to them regardless of their major.

STEM Majors and Professional Degrees

Many parents, counselors, and even professors insist that STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors are the only ones that will lead to a specific career. This has led parents worried about their children's future to strongly encourage them to pursue engineering degrees or professional degrees, which generally lead to the highest salaries. Indeed, students anxious about being able to find a job after graduation or regretting their college major decisions may be best off starting out in a STEM field or pursing a course of study eventually leading to a professional degree.

And though it's true that STEM majors are certainly right for students who are genuinely interested in and devote themselves to their fields of study, many students who choose STEM college majors just for a higher salary are likely to be disappointed. A STEM major is a significant commitment. Computer science majors, for example, are likely to spend six years in college before they graduate becau...

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...their all. But students should know that those who choose majors in non-STEM fields have access to careers too numerous to list here, and because they tend to be in less debt and have many options, they're less likely to be committed to jobs or careers that they are unhappy with. This can have a tremendous impact on their quality of life. There are plenty of HR representatives, managers, public relations and marketing staff members, real estate agents and other professionals who are qualified for their jobs through experience rather than education. Most managers also say they value experience over all other factors. Students should spend the first half of their education taking courses about a wide variety of different topics, then choose a major based on the classes they're interested in to maximize their academic performance and enter the workforce with confidence.