Choosing a major could be an even more important decision than which college to choose. Studies have shown that students who choose a major that is a good fit for them tend to get better grades and are also more likely to graduate on time. Your future salary also largely depends on your major, even more so than the college you choose. 

The average student takes longer than four years to graduate. Considering the majority of students change majors at least once it’s easy to see why it takes students so long to complete their coursework. Changing majors means you will most likely end up taking classes that don’t count towards your degree.  This means extra money paid in tuition and time lost to classes that aren't meaningful to you.

How to Choose

You don’t necessarily have to know your major when you begin college. Most students don’t! What you should have is an idea of what you’re good at and what you’re interested in, as well as some future goals and plans. Your freshman and sophomore year offer you good chances to take a range of classes in subjects that interest you in order to further decide which major is a good fit.

Don’t take too long to choose though! If you’re interested in a science or technical major be aware that you may have to make your decision sooner as long hours spent in the lab means your coursework is less flexible.  

Use Majors Matcher to help you find a pool of potential majors that are perfect for you. This tool will also help you begin to discover colleges as well as give you ideas on what classes you should begin taking. Start here!

The Economic Payoff

Photo by monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Getty Images

Certain majors have the potential to earn you a lot more money over the course of your career, with some of the highest paying being engineering, computer science, math and nursing.

However, choosing a major based on money alone is a recipe for disaster. The promise of a future high-paying career will rarely be enough incentive to survive four of study devoted to a subject you don’t like. You’ll do much better in school if you choose a subject you enjoy, but we also recommend doing research into future career options so you’re aware of the realities. 

If you know you’re going into a low-paying career there’s still a lot you could do to increase your future prospects. Spend a summer or two completing an internship in your field, take a few computer programming classes to round out your skills, or think about pursuing a graduate degree. Choose a college that has an excellent program in your preferred field, and that has a proven track record of graduating students on-time with a low amount of loan debt. If you don't have a lot of debt to pay off you'll be a lot happier living on a small paycheck.