Choosing a major is no easy task, especially with all the pressure you may be under from both your parents and yourself to choose a good one. But what makes a major good?
There's one big criteria you have to know in choosing a major: drive. You have to care about your major, have to like learning about it. Because if you don't like your major, mess up your GPA and drop out of college, you'd be better off if you hadn't gone to college in the first place. Are you going to be better off with a degree in Business rather than a degree in Performance Art? 95% of the time I'd argue that yes, you would be, at least financially. But a degree in Performance Art is a whole lot better than no degree and a whole lot of student debt left over from dropping out.
That said, financially some majors truly are better than others. Science (any of them), Technology, Engineering, Math - collectively known as the STEM majors - along with Business are where the money is to be made. But they're only good majors so long as you stick with them and get good grades. On the other hand, History, the Arts (any of them), Language, and Education majors make some of the least money out there. However, if you care about them and go into them knowing you probably won't make a lot of money, they might still be the right majors for you. But if you go for one of those majors, know that not only are you going to make less money in the long term, but it's also going to be incredibly difficult to get scholarships.
There is such a thing as a "bad" major, at least as far as getting a good paying job goes. Likewise, there is such a thing as a "good" major. So if you think drive won't be a problem for you, try consulting these lists for an idea of what to choose. To be a good major, not only should it lead to a higher paying job, but the field should also be growing at least somewhat fast. You can check out average salaries and growth rates for different jobs in the Bureau of Labor Statistic's Occupational Outlooks Handbook.
Double Majors and Minors If you have enough credits to be able to fit them, I always recommend double majors and minors. The great thing about them is that they help set you apart from the rest of the crowd when you're applying for jobs. Also, if you change your mind about your major (which many do), you don't have to start from nothing. You have a double major you can fall back on instead of having to stay in school forever. Double majoring is not for everyone, however. Some majors honestly just don't play nicely together. For example, anything science/math related should generally be paired with music/art/drama/etc with extreme caution. Not only is an art major probably not going to set you apart in a good way to science/math employers, but art and related majors are actually some of the hardest majors you will find on a campus, as are science/math related majors.
So what is a good double major/minor to add? I would recommend basing it off of the skills that employers in general are looking for. In my searching for potential careers, I've found several skills that employers request quite consistently. They are computer knowledge, foreign language proficiency, leadership, and, to a more limited degree, business background. Those four skills will help you no matter what field you enter. Computer background is no longer just limited to programming jobs; instead, it's become incorporated into almost every job. From nursing to teaching, business to the FBI, computer knowledge is becoming more and more critical and requested by employers. It will help you stand out from other job applicants and open doors you never knew were closed. In the same vein, foreign language proficiency will help you no matter where you work. Except, unlike computer knowledge, in many fields foreign language is becoming more of an expected job prerequisite. If you're going to become a doctor, for instance, more and more it seems to be becoming taken for granted that you'll speak some Spanish. The way to stand out in many fields, however, is to learn a language that is in high demand by employers, yet is not being learned by other prospective employees. Those currently include Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, and Arabic. Spanish is also a good language to know, but since so many know it to a limited degree, the only way to stand out with Spanish knowledge is by being fluent. Business background falls into about the same category - no matter what career you're seeking (with some exceptions) it will help you get hired.
While the previous three were skills you could gain by taking classes, leadership is one which needs to be learned at least in part hands on. One of the best ways to demonstrate leadership to employers is through extracurricular activities. Becoming a member of a student organization's executive board (president, vice president, etc) is a great way to do that, particularly if the organization is related to your career goals. So, while becoming the president of the Barbecue Appreciation Club might show leadership (to a degree), unless you're looking to go into a barbecue related field, if you're looking to go into business it's far better to show employers that you were the president of the Future Business Leaders of America.
A Note for Future Science Majors: I've been in college for a while now, long enough to notice a pattern. Every year, a swarm of freshmen come in and promptly declare themselves to be future doctors and engineers, opting for science majors. By the end of the year, only about half of them have that same major. The rest of them have messed up their GPAs, switched majors altogether, and some have even dropped out of college. So, if you're one of those future freshmen, I'm going to ask you to consider your decision closely. Was it your choice, or your parent's? Can you actually see yourself in that career? How did you do in your science classes in school? In short, you have to be willing to put a lot of yourself into your studies in order to succeed in a science major, or any major for that matter. You're not the smart kid anymore - everyone's smart and you're all competing against each other. Can you do it? Yes. But you have to care. If you don't have that drive, you're better off choosing a different major.
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