Choosing the Best Degree for You
A college education is an investment in your future, which means that choosing a major is a decision that often comes with some stress. There is often pressure to recoup tuition costs with a great-paying job, leading some students to fret about picking the right course of study.
The decision is easy if you’re set on a specific profession, such as nursing or engineering. But it’s hard sometimes to see where your career path might lead with other degrees.
Use Your Resources
You can get some ideas through LinkedIn’s Field of Study Explorer. Simply key in a discipline you’re interested in, and you’ll see examples of where professionals holding similar degrees are working. With data from nearly 250 million LinkedIn members, there is a pretty good sample to pull from.
Be careful of disciplines that are trendy or narrow.It might be tempting today to major in social media, but an all-around marketing or journalism degree might help more than a cum laude diploma in Facebook.
Tried and True
On the other hand, some degrees are timeless: Business skills are more important than most college students realize, which means that a business degree will serve you well in a number of fields. The ability to craft a well-written memo and explain your position to colleagues is vital, which is why a communications degree is valuable even if you have no intention of working in the media.
Don’t avoid a certain major just because you’re afraid you’ll wind up living in your parents’ basement. Even fine arts degrees are surprisingly marketable. The LinkedIn search engines show people with those majors working in professions such as marketing, economic development, and Web design.
Once you’ve narrowed the possibilities, visit college websites and look over the degree requirements for various programs. The College Board recommends asking yourself key questions such as, “Do the classes sound interesting?” That organization also offers a career browser that lets you explore possibilities by either major or job categories.
You also can look beyond your major and add courses that will make you more marketable. A degree in computer information systems with a minor in health care could position you perfectly in two growth careers. An education major with a minor in instructional design is a natural fit for someone enthused about the future of online colleges and blending learning.
Finally, think of where your passion lies. If you’re not a number cruncher at heart, don’t major in accounting just because everyone in your family has for generations. If you’re great at math but you really feel called to teaching, don’t forego job satisfaction in favor of a fat paycheck. You always can teach math, and pass your enthusiasm along to the next generation.
Learn more about Ashford’s online degrees, and follow your passion!
Written by Ashford University staff