You may have known all your life to this point that you would definitely be going to college.
You studied hard throughout high school and maintained an impressive list of extracurricular activities to keep your transcript well-rounded.
But one thing that even the most prepared high school student sometimes overlooks is the specific major they want to pursue.
When you have tried so many things and enjoyed almost all of them, how do you pick something to dedicate yourself to for probably at least the next four years? Consider the following four suggestions to help you get focused on a goal.
1. Make Lists
It may seem slightly too obvious, but making lists of all of your interests is a strong start to making any important decision – and choosing a college path is certainly no exception.
Start with the very basics, such as classes that you took in high school. Scratch out or eliminate any that you either feel that you are not proficient enough in or that you simply wouldn’t enjoy doing for the rest of your life.
Take what is left and make a new list, sorted by the likelihood that it would be a viable career option.
Can you see yourself spending hours of study and taking out a student loan in order to pursue that subject? If not, scratch that off too.
If you would be willing to spend the time and money on it, put it on a new list – although at this point, you may be looking at your answer and another subject list won’t be necessary.
As long as you are in list making mode, also try writing down any colleges or schools that may have already piqued your interest. You will of course also need to narrow these lists to only include schools which offer the major that you have chosen. Continue to add and eliminate as you discover more about each place.
Remember what you will need to get from your chosen college, such as off-campus housing and training programs. If proximity to shopping or food is also a factor for you, also keep that in mind. Try to cover as many topics as you can so that you can confidently make your decision.
2. Research the Sustainability
Sadly, sometimes the things that seem interesting and currently trending upward – and therefore appear to you to be worthy of a career – may not be a long term pursuit that will allow you to live a comfortable, practical life. Your schooling can set you up for a lifetime of professional and personal accomplishments.
The idea can be scary and overwhelming, but it is really the most sane advice that you can be given.Ideally, you will be making a living based on what degree you end up with – so the process of choosing a major really is also the process of choosing your life’s path. Take your time researching the careers that tend to result from a specific field of study, and look up what the average pay scale may be.
If it is on the lower side, decide how much you are willing to sacrifice in order to make a go of that career and lifestyle. A field of study gets bonus points if there is a lot of potential for growth well into the future.
3. Know Your Limits
As with most of life’s necessities, getting a college degree also comes with expenses and financial commitments. Keep an eye on the tuition costs and plan accordingly. If you determine that you will need to take out more loans than you think you can handle, consider revising your degree plan.
You can extend it over a longer period of time if you need to be able to come up with the money as you go. The last thing that you will want to do is bury yourself in debt and potential financial ruin, as this will only result in stress and a loss of quality of life.
other valuable tips:
4. Get Help
Take advantage of career counseling available through high school and vocational services. You can gain invaluable information and resources for grants, scholarships and financial aid options. The professionals who work for these departments can guide you to finalizing your educational goals and give you encouragement and support along the way.
The process can seem long and daunting and not for the faint of heart, but it is rarely as bad as it looks and there are many people willing to give you a boost when you need it. So don’t get discouraged, keep plugging away and look forward to a new beginning. The world is your oyster and these are exciting times!
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