What's Your Major?

college-student-major.jpgWhat’s your major? It’s one of the most popular questions asked at undergraduate events. All too often, freshmen feel that the answer somehow defines them. Why, I’m pre-med! Or pre-law! Or a business major, economics major, poli sci, music theory, or any of hundreds of possibilities.

Choosing an undergraduate major is important. However, it should be a choice that serves you, not one that limits you. The phrase “nothing is carved in stone” definitely applies here. You should not walk around campus feeling as if someone has stamped your forehead “Sheila Student, psychology major, now and forever.”

College majors are sometimes miscategorized as either “practical” or “emotionally satisfying, but ultimately useless.” Subjects such as law, education, business, and economics tend to get lumped into the first category. Arts and humanities, unfortunately, are often relegated to the second. This arbitrary division is extremely misleading. A curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art probably doesn’t agree that an art history degree is a frivolous indulgence. On the other hand, law students anticipating a lucrative reward for their years of study have recently been unpleasantly surprised by the lawyer glut. Accounting is a much-maligned career, frequently labeled as boring. However, New Jersey accountant Melissa Williams loves her job because it allows her to work for a non-profit organization whose mission she passionately believes in.

There is no need to worry that your choice in college (and life) is between being hopelessly bored or eternally out of work. The best college major combines intriguing content with marketable skills to inspire you to learn more and make you an asset in the workplace.

Consider the combined fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). These are challenging professional fields in which students can look forward to doing fascinating work and making contributions to society. Monster Worldwide, Inc., an employment website, quotes the U.S. Census Bureau in affirming that “STEM graduates with a bachelor's in technology, engineering or math are more likely than any other major to get a job after college.” 

Of course, many of the careers included in the STEM list are not surprising. For example, the fields of civil engineering and computer security are listed (with average salaries at or above six digits). But did you know that agricultural careers are included as well? Did you realize that you could develop artificial intelligence or make archeological discoveries? A complete list of STEM fields can be found here.

One further advantage to consider is the amount of financial assistance available to students who pursue these careers. U.S. News and World Report notes that “[s]cholarships to reel students into STEM fields are multiplying, and an online search will turn up hundreds of sources.” The article provides a helpful sample of available awards, many offering thousands of dollars.

Still not sure if this is your cup of tea? Purdue University offers a helpful quiz (What Kind of STEM Career is For You?) to students who are investigating their options.

If a STEM career is in your future, you will want to start planning your standardized testing strategies now. Of course you intend to do well on all sections, but your science and math sections will be especially important. Your A+ tutor can help you set and achieve your test-taking goals. He or she will work with you to help make the testing process as easy and stress-free as possible. Your tutor can show you testing approaches that help you attain your “personal best” score.

Our knowledgeable Client Service Directors—Nathan Rudolph, Anne Stanley, and Susan Ware—are available to answer questions, provide solutions, and assist you in achieving your educational goals. You may reach any of our directors by calling A+ Test Prep and Tutoring at 215-886-9188.

*Photo courtesy of CollegeDegrees360

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