College students will often reference a combination of reasons for choosing their major, including interest, job requirements, salary, etc. Making your major selection based on a combination of factors is expected – and a good idea. On the other hand, choosing your major based solely on one criteria can lead to frustration! Here are 4 BAD reasons to choose your major:
- Your parents made you do it
It’s great to have parental support for the major decisions you make, but if the only reason you are choosing a particular major, or career, is that your parents wanted you to choose it, you’re likely in for disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, your parents probably know you quite well, and their opinion counts. Just don’t base your decision solely on their opinion…or entirely on anyone else’s, for that matter.
- It’s what your best friend/significant other chose
You probably have quite a bit in common with your friends, but don’t assume that the right major for them will be the right major for you. That said, it can be really helpful to ask your friends about their department culture, course load, faculty and overall satisfaction with their major. If you’re unsure about choosing a particular major, this information may help you make a decision.
- The major looks like it will require the least amount of work
On paper, some major look like they will require comparatively less work than other majors. Or, there may be a perception on your campus that a certain major is “easier” than others. First, there are few majors that are truly easy. If you select a major without any genuine interest in the topic, just hoping to coast through, you will likely be unpleasantly surprised. On the other hand, when you’re good at something, it may feel easier or feel like less work. (Some departments earn their “easy” reputation because students from the department might describe the major as easy because they have mastered the subject matter.)
- This major will get you the most money
Money can definitely be a great motivator for many, and can certainly factor into your decision-making process. However, remember to factor in your skills and interest. It’s difficult to succeed in a field if you have little to no genuine interest in the subject matter or if you struggle to get solid grades in the requisite courses. Moreover, a job title or field that is popular when you enter college may become so saturated with applicants that by the time you graduate, hiring dries up.