Tag Archives | college

How High School Graduates Can Find the Right College for Their Career Aspirations

Image by Tulane Public Relations, flickr.com

Pursuing higher education is one of the most important decisions you will make for your future. It’s becoming more difficult for high school graduates to find rewarding careers. Postsecondary education can qualify you for more jobs and help you earn a higher salary. Discover these simple tips to learn how you can find the right college to achieve your career goals.

Determine Academic Goals and Needs
Students should choose a college that meets their academic goals and needs. It’s important to ensure that an institution offers a program that can train you for your desired career. If students plan on changing colleges in the future, it’s imperative to make sure those college credits can transfer. A traditional college might not be the right choice for working professionals. Many colleges offer online degrees for programs such as radiology technology. You can learn more here.

Academic Advising
One of the best ways to find the right college is to speak with an academic advisor. These advisors can provide you with information about colleges in your area as well as top-ranked institutions across the country. It’s important for students to inquire about admission requirements such as grade point averages and test scores to ensure they are eligible for the program. Academic advisors can also help you determine the financial cost of attending a specific institution.

Research College Rankings
Whether you are pursuing a general business diploma or a prestigious law degree, it’s important to choose a college with a challenging curriculum. Popular magazines such as U.S. News and Forbes provide a list of top-ranked schools in the country. This is an excellent way to find colleges that could help you meet your academic goals. Students can also purchase a variety of books about top-ranked colleges, which includes admission and tuition information.

Verify College Accreditations
It’s imperative to verify the accreditation of a college before enrolling in a program. An institution can have a regional, national, or specialized accreditation. Students can verify accreditation through the U.S. Department of Education. The accreditation of a school can vary depending on the type of programs they offer as well as the quality of the curriculum. Some employers will not recognize institutions that are not properly accredited, which is why it’s important to be selective about the college you attend.

It’s important to find the right college to prepare for the career of your dreams. Colleges should meet your academic goals and be properly accredited. Students can learn about programs by researching college accreditations and rankings.

This article was contributed by guest author Lizzie Weakley.


4 Intrinsic Degree Programs for New Students

Image by Faustin Tuyambaze, unsplash.com

Image by Faustin Tuyambaze, unsplash.com

When starting out in college, many students struggle to find direction. A great degree can also make the difference between stagnation in the workplace and bountiful career advancements in new territories. Take a look at these four degree programs to increase your knowledge and carve out a future of leadership, innovation, and success.

Graphic Design
If you’re tech-savvy, a degree in graphic design may be just what you’re looking for. Propel your future into the technological world of computers and design with such a degree. You can use your specialized knowledge to develop various artistic endeavors for ads, design, and much more. At the forefront of innovation, a degree in graphic design provides students with practical skills that apply to many industries, from medicine to education. Formal training in graphic design promises a stable yet mentally stimulating career with limitless possibilities. Most graphic designers are always busy with new projects and ideas.

Public Administration Degrees
Public administration is a field that most people don’t think of when students investigate degrees of interest. Through this degree program, you’ll succeed as a leader in public service and government policy. Earning a degree in public administration is one route worth investigating. It’s no easy task to facilitate widespread change, but an online master in public administration degree program can give you the tools to manage civil servants and organize projects. From fundraising to urban planning, there’s no end to the possibilities this degree affords.

Marketing Analyst
With this kind of a degree, you would be analyzing market trends in the business industry. For those interested in this sort of thing, the possible applications for such a degree are endless. With entrepreneurial spirit and business savvy, you can push yourself to succeed. Pursuing an MBA or other business or marketing-related degrees can result in a wide variety of careers. From financial analysis to consulting, an MBA becomes the most valuable when combined with another area of expertise. This is especially true in the age of the internet, where managing a business is becoming more and more possible. Get ahead of the game with a degree that teaches you how to monetize your area of expertise in the global marketplace. Overall, business is a great choice for the entrepreneurial risk-takers of the world.

If you’re an eloquent speaker, an avid reader, or have an interest in writing, a degree in English could be for you. Whether you have a large vocabulary or not, well-suited writers are always valuable to every industry. Take a look at what other specific areas you might be interested in when it comes to the fields of English and writing. Many students choose to have an emphasis in literature, creative writing, or technical writing, just to name a few. Whether you’re studying the finer details of crafting a powerful speech, the distinguishing characteristics of poetry and prose, or you love technical details, English is a great field to go into for those that have in interest in it.

When it comes to establishing success that lasts, education is key. Taking the time to discover what’s right for you is paramount. With these four degree programs, you’ll have a sturdy foundation to grow your future and ultimately have a blossoming career.

This article was contributed by guest author Rachelle Wilber.


Hit the Ground Running: 5 Tips for Incoming College Freshmen

Image by Davide Cantelli, unsplash.com

Image by Davide Cantelli, unsplash.com

High school is finally over and you can’t wait to head off to college. The next four (or five) years will be some of your best, but you might get to campus and find yourself suddenly nervous and overwhelmed. Here are a few tips to help incoming freshmen get off on the right foot.

Don’t Over Pack
You know when you go on vacation and only wear half of what you brought? Your freshman year of college will be kind of like that. You don’t need 27 notebooks. Start with one per class, a few extra pens, just the basics. You can buy other stuff as you need it. And don’t even think about bringing every pair of jeans you own. Dorm rooms are small, don’t bring more than you can easily organize.

Let Your Parents Be Involved
Sure, having your parents hovering around when you’re settling in may feel embarrassing, but trust us, you won’t be the only one with hovering parents. Aside from the fact that one or both of your parents is probably a master unpacker and organizer, going off to college is hard for them too. Let them have the little bit of extra time. You’ll be glad you did when they get in the car and drive away.

Don’t Flip Over a Bad Grade
When you’re in college, your GPA can feel like everything. Maybe it’s really important to you get to those additional cords when you graduate, but at the end of the day, your GPA doesn’t determine your success outside of school. We aren’t saying you shouldn’t work hard and strive for good grades, especially if you want to go on to grad school, law school, or med school, but don’t forget to enjoy your experience and make new friends.

Ask for Help
Going off to college can be challenging, from being in an unfamiliar environment to the higher expectations. If you need help, ask. Whether you’re struggling in a class or having a problem with someone on your floor, there are plenty of people around who can provide you with the help you need. Learning how to ask for help is also a valuable real-world skill and the sooner you develop it, the better.

Get Involved
This is especially important if you’re coming to school from out of town. Schools like UC Clermont College encourage getting involved in sports, clubs, or other activities that will help you find like-minded students and develop new relationships. It’s also important to network, whether within these organizations or with teachers and other authority figures who can help you get a TA position or internship.

A great start to your college career will make it easier to have a great finish. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and make your freshman year exciting. When you look back at your college years, you’ll be happy you started on the right foot.

This article was contributed by guest author Brooke Chaplan.


10 Reasons You Should Choose A Community College

Image by Atomic Taco, Flickr

Image by Atomic Taco, Flickr

Would you like to have a wonderful career in an industry you love? Are you a high school graduate, but can’t make up your mind on furthering your education or jumping straight into the workforce? If you’re fresh out of high school or someone who wants to pursue a career in a certain field, higher learning facilities are some of the best routes to take.

One of the biggest dilemmas a person can have is whether to attend university or community college. Both institutions provide great academic courses, training, activities, and athletics, but one tends to be more expensive in total costs than the other – and the decision varies from person to person.

Here are 10 popular reasons you may choose a community college over university.

1. School/Home Balance
Community college offers you a bit more freedom, and allows students to take one or two classes at a time – roughly 60% of students attend on a part-time basis. This offers you plenty of free time to travel back and forth from home, and commuting can save you thousands since you don’t have to live in a dorm.

2. Tuition
It’s no secret that university is expensive. A community college allows you to pay lower costs for shorter 2-year terms and credit hours can be up to 80 percent less than those of a university. The great thing is that these classes will be the same curriculum you would take at university, but for a fraction of the cost.

3. Smaller Size:
Many students are intimidated by a large campus full of people, buildings and miles of sidewalks. The nice thing about community college is that most are comprised of a few buildings and the size isn’t anywhere near that of a larger university.

4. Not Ready
Many students just aren’t ready for university and most have to take pre-requisite classes in order to receive their degree. As mentioned above, you can take these classes at your community college instead of the university, allowing you to save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

5. Supportive Services
A community college has great support if you have children, if you’re disabled or don’t have the financial means to attend college. Financial aid, grants, child services, and labs help take the pressure off by paying a portion of your tuition.

6. Open Access
Unlike universities, a community college is more flexible with eligibility requirements. All you need is to be 18 years old and have a (GED) or diploma for acceptance.

7. Class Size
Students are able to interact easier with an instructor since the average class size is around 25 students. Compare that to a university that often sees more than 150 students in one classroom.

8. More Choices
Though a community college is smaller than a university, these schools have a wide range of certificate, diploma, and tradesman courses that can deliver high paying jobs after completion.

9. Option to Transfer
After your first two years of community college, students who want to further their education can easily transfer to a four-year school without jumping through hoops or taking unnecessary classes. In fact, most universities work with the local community college.

10. Faster Employment
A four-year degree is great for the future; however, many people are looking to get in and get out. 2-year programs and certifications allow you to get the training faster for jobs that are available today.

This article was contributed by guest author Stephanie Lynch.


12 Tips to Help You Make the Most of Your Freshman Year

Image by Aaron Burden, unsplash.com

Image by Aaron Burden, unsplash.com

College freshman year is your first step into adulthood and it’s a year you’ll remember for the rest of your life. All those past achievements and high school grades can get you into the college you desire, but once you’re in, it’s a complete new start. Everyone gets an equal chance to prove themselves and what you make of this opportunity matters the most in shaping your personality and career.

So here’s a list of ‘must dos’ to help you make the most of your freshman year so you don’t look back and regret your decisions.

Choose wisely
The very first thing to do (*cliche alert*) is to put some thought into selecting the right major. As statistics show, 30% of college students in the US drop out of college in the first year, or complete their graduation elsewhere. I’m guessing that you wouldn’t want to fit into that number, right? You must believe in your instincts and pick the right program that interests you, while at the same time being feasible with your SAT/ACT scores.

Be an occasional nerd
It’s okay to sometimes stay back and study instead of slipping out at night to party with the clan. You must resist the temptation (I know it’s hard!), and prioritize academics whenever need be. Trust me, it’s really cool to be the student who’s out with friends when he/she wants to – and who also does well in class. You must learn to say no at the right time, and loosen up and unwind when required.

Timetables and due-dates
It’s college, not high school. Every time you’re late with a submission, or miss out on a lecture that you “didn’t know” about, it’s a red alert. Colleges are very strict with timetables and dates right from the time of applications. It’s wise to sit down and draw up a timetable of lectures and upcoming due-dates for submissions. Put it in a chart and hang it on a wall over your bed so you don’t forget.

Hang in there
It’s not easy for everyone to cope with the newfound freedom that comes with college. And it’s okay to be scared. Some of us are introverts. Some of us don’t make friends easily and need time to build a good rapport. The good news is, you’re not alone. There are others just like you feeling the chills in a new place. Find them and make friends with them as they are also probably looking for someone who can understand how they feel. Always be nice to your roommate, and if they don’t reciprocate, change rooms. It’s hard to survive college without at least a small set of friends, so surround yourself with like minded people.

Define your study style
The college curriculum is a lot harder than high school, and it takes your first year to understand and implement this in your study routine. It doesn’t mean you’ll be slogging through the years. Be smart at your work. Identify your study style. Are you good with group study? Check out the library and find students who do the same. Stay connected with your groups online even when they’re not around. Like to keep testing your skills? Take pop quizzes and solve question papers from the university’s website. Like to make short notes? Use websites like Evernote to save notes, and Cram to make your own flashcards to remember hard concepts. It’s important to find your comfort zone while studying.

Try to be yourself
Right from the time of filling out an application, to writing that crucial college essay, applicants are expected to describe who they really are. Adding that ‘you’ element in an essay describes your unique quality and gets you into the college. You need to maintain that ‘you factor’ all throughout freshman year.

Work on your speech
Take a speech class if needed. Communication skills are very important to make yourself heard among the cluster. You may have been a pro debater or an elocution expert in high school, but the trick is to keep that spirit alive in college. Communication skills are like a good dessert after dinner. From making college life easier to impressing potential employers that want to recruit, your communication skills will play an important role in your future.

Draft a plan for the next four years
Yes, live in the present, but also think of the future. College is about enjoying your precious young-adult years, but with an element of added responsibility. It’s the right time to plan your academic goals for the next 3-4 years. Discuss them with your counsellor / mentor. This helps you to stay on course, tick off the milestones, and reevaluate your choices and options if needed.

Join a club
Extracurricular activities are crucial to making your resume shine, exploring your interests outside of the classroom and to make new contacts. Involving yourself in college clubs (drama, debate, etc) and student organizations will help you reap significant benefits in later years. It improves your leadership skills and your ability to perform as a team; two qualities much sought after by employers.

Technology is your friend
Times have changed and it’s a definite perk to be tech savvy. Learn to work your way around on the internet and use online tools like Google Drive (If you’re not already into it!). List down important blogs to read. Learn online etiquette to get a good reputation. It’ll help you to finish your assignments quickly, and stay in touch with the latest developments in your field.

Build a good rapport with professors
A good piece of advice here is to get noticed and fall straight into the good books of at least one teacher. It helps with getting good research opportunities, recommendations for internships, and a better understanding of the subjects. You don’t need to become a ‘teacher’s pet,’ but be regular for the lectures, take interest in finishing the assignments, and contact them for study help.

Seek internships
Draw up your resume (if you don’t have it already) and keep updating it with your newly acquired skills. Towards the end of your Freshman year, start sourcing for summer internships. Your teacher reference comes in handy for this. It will help you to get another internship next summer after your sophomore year. Graduating with two of these certificates will give you a competitive edge over others.

Freshman year is all about re-discovering yourself and laying the foundation of your career. Remember, it’s very tempting to get carried away into different social groups and succumb to peer pressure. Stay focused on your goals.

This article was contributed by guest author Ethan Miller.


Aftermath of ITT Tech Closure – Factors to Consider When Choosing an College Program

Image by Nick Karvounis, unsplash.com

Image by Nick Karvounis, unsplash.com

The federal government’s decision to increase sanctions on ITT Technical Institute reinforced how choosing the right college can affect a student’s current and future prospects. In the aftermath of the Department of Education’s decision to bar ITT Tech enrolling new students utilizing federal aid, the institute decided to close all campuses and discontinue educational services leaving tens of thousands of students in limbo.

Now former ITT Tech students who have not completed their degree are faced with a tough decision:
• Attempt to find an institution that will transfer their credits.
• Petition for their federal loans to be discharged.

Both choices are not ideal.

Here’s the thing: it’s easier than ever to vet colleges. The internet has made school stats, credentials, and various other factors about the institution easy to discover. College education is too important, time consuming, and expensive to be a blind gamble. And the rise of public college online programs, has eliminated the need to enroll in a risky program due to geographic limits. With a little detective work, you can save yourself a lot of trouble.

Below are four factors to keep in mind when vetting a school:

Graduation Statistics

Not all student dropouts are the fault of the college, but higher than average drop out rates can be a sign of fundamental flaws in the school’s education or student support efforts. Individuals should not walk into a college program without knowing what percentage of students leave the college without a degree.

While it’s a gamble to attend a college with low graduation, at least you know what you’re up against. You can take measures to ensure you don’t leave the program with student loans and no degree.

You can get a sense of college graduation rates utilizing either the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard website or by doing a Google search of the schools graduation rate.


Check accreditation. According to an interview with Dr. RuthAnn Althaus, Ohio University Online MHA program coordinator, accreditation “provides assurance to students, their employers, and the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) that institutions are meeting rigorous educational standards and are professionally sound.”

Enrolling in a program that is not accredited or has had their accreditation revoked for not meeting standards can have the following consequences:
• College’s ineligibility for federal funds (including federal student aid or tuition reimbursement programs.
• Inability to transfer college credits to other institutions.
• Not accepted as a degree by employers.
• Doesn’t grant entry into careers that require a degree (like nursing or engineering).

You can find accreditation info on the college’s website or utilizing this government database.

You also want to check if the college’s accreditation is in trouble. If a school fails to meet accreditation standards, it will be placed on probation. If the problems are not fixed, they might lose their accreditation.

You can check if a school is on probation by:
• Searching Google for a “Notice of Probation” for the school
• Searching for any articles about the potential loss of accreditation.

Credit Transfer

Switching schools can be a nightmare. The Department of Education analysis of college credit transfer rate revealed that around 40% of college students lost all of their earned credits when they transferred schools.

Students who start at one college and plan to transfer to another school should:
• Figure out if the college has a transfer agreement with any other universities. If they do, ask the college what you need to do to sign onto the transfer agreement.
• If you have a transfer college in mind, check the college website for a list of schools they have a partnership with. (Portland State University’s community college partnership page is a good example of what that page would look like.)
• Call the admissions office or transfer advisors at the school before you sign up for classes to sure your credits will transfer.
• Shop around to other colleges if your first choice won’t accept your credits.
• Check if the college is regionally accredited (most public universities) or nationally accredited (a lot of for-profits). Most regionally accredited universities won’t accept credits from nationally accredited programs.

Students who don’t plan to transfer schools, should still get a general sense of whether the credits will be transferable to a school you would reasonably want to attend just in case.

Financial Stability

If you’re in enrolled in a school that is in financial hot water, you’re placing yourself in a precarious position.

Schools that are not stable financially face:
• The potential to lose accreditation due to not meeting financial standards.
• A loss of quality offerings to students.
• Hikes in tuition in an effort to remain afloat.
• Possible school closure.

The last point, school closure, can be devastating to students if the closure happens in the middle of the semester. Their transcripts will be marred by a semester worth of ‘incomplete’ classes which looks bad and might prevent student athletes from participating in sports.

You can check the financial health of your potential university by searching for the financial information in Google or checking for the school in one of the following articles:
Private College Financial Health Grades 2015: Is Your Alma Mater At Risk?
159 Private Colleges Fail Education Dept.’s Financial-Responsibility Test

The fall of ITT Technical Institute should be a wake-up call that individuals need to expand how potential schools are evaluated before enrolling. The ads, recruiters, and website might market the school as a stellar institution, but colleges are businesses who are reliant on recruiting students to remain lucrative. It’s the individual’s responsibility to do a thorough vetting before enrolling.

This article was contributed by guest author Samantha Stauf.


Your Guide to Selecting a Major

Image by Saulo Mohana, unsplash.com

Image by Saulo Mohana, unsplash.com

If you haven’t decided on a major, you’re not alone. At least half of college-bound students are undecided about their majors.

It’s a difficult choice to make, especially when it feels like you’re making a life-long commitment. With hundreds of options to choose from, it’s no wonder that making this decision can feel a little overwhelming.

Selecting a college major is a personal choice dictated by several factors, including your interests, strengths, attraction to a particular subject area, and your individual value system. Taking the time to research your options will make it much easier to make an informed decision that you are much more likely to be happy with.

Undeclared or undecided major

While many students feel stressed about not knowing what they want to study, this is quite a normal feeling. Choosing an undecided major could turn out to be a blessing in disguise since it will give you the opportunity to explore different ideas, discover your interests, and find your strengths before you settle on something.

You will have the chance to explore different classes, and you may even find that the one that peaks your interest is something entirely different than what you would have imagined. You will gain exposure to various teaching styles, some of which may work better for you than others. Be sure to work closely with an academic advisor to get the best out of the experience.

For many students, the added benefit is that they end up meeting and socializing with many different people. Rather than just heading to events focused on a single major, you end up attending various on-campus happenings and get to know more people.

Double major or major/minor programs

When you choose a double major, you receive one degree with two majors that are typically related and integrate with each other. You would need to complete the requirements for both majors, as well as the general education requirements and those of your home school. Concentrating in a secondary area can be extremely valuable and marketable, which many employers look for these days. It also shows you are willing to take on challenging tasks.

Since earning a double major takes more time and commitment, you should carefully weigh your time, finances, interests, and patience when deciding what makes sense for you. Speak with faculty in your major and advisors at the Career Center about the benefits and drawbacks.

Choosing a combination of majors and minors can increase your marketability and better prepare you for the career you want while being less demanding than a double major. Think about minors that would complement your major, such as a subject from the liberal arts if you are studying a major in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM). You gain valuable skills that can be of benefit in any career, such as effective communication and problem solving.

This option tends to suit students with a variety of interests, who wish to incorporate these into their studies. Of course, there are other ways to gain experience, such as completing internships, taking part in research opportunities, studying abroad, taking more classes than required, or joining clubs.

Research the prospects

When it comes to making a decision, research is your best friend. Take time to study and analyze your interests, values and skills. Speak to students studying majors you are interested in and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Find out if they have student organizations and set up a meeting or ask about attending an event.

Also, speak to faculty that teaches in that area – most professors will even allow you to listen in on a class, so make the most of the opportunity. Find out which textbooks are required, visit a bookstore, and give the books a browse.

You may find that an industry professional in your chosen field earns much more in a different country, so it may be worth spending time studying abroad. Especially if your chosen field requires a thorough understanding of local legislation, such as a health and safety manager. The more information you gather, the easier it will be to make an informed decision.

Pursue your passion

Choosing a major in a subject matter you love or feel passionate about can make a big difference to your level of engagement, and ultimately, your grades. If you loved math at school and excelled at it, then why not pick a major in science?

You may think that the wiser choice would be to select a major based on those careers demonstrating the most rapid growth. After all, you want to increase your chances of securing a well-paying job after you graduate.

The reality is that job markets can change very quickly, so while a career may be in high demand today, that might not still be true in four to five years’ time. Furthermore, 65% of students will end up in jobs that haven’t even been created yet. If you choose something you are passionate in, then everything else will fall into place.

Get hands-on experience

If you think you may be interested in pursuing a particular career, but aren’t sure about what it would entail on a daily basis, then why not intern or volunteer? Gaining work experience in your preferred field of study will give you valuable insight that you just wouldn’t get from a textbook.

If you’re thinking of building a career in social work, ask if you can volunteer at the local shelter. You gain hands-on experience and get a real taste of what the job is like – the good and the bad.

If you find it’s not the job for you, then give something else a go. Exploring a variety of pursuits will help you discover which career path is right for you. It also offers you the chance to connect with professionals in your field, which can help with employment opportunities down the line.

This article was contributed by guest author Mackenzie Fox.


Shining Bright: How to Stand Out on Your College Application

Image by Aaron Burden, unsplash.com

Image by Aaron Burden, unsplash.com

Applying to college is many things—emotional, stressful, time-consuming—but it is definitely not easy. Your college application isn’t just an application, but a reflection of your work ethic, dreams, and ambitions. The pressure of summarizing your entire existence in a 1000 word paper is a lot to deal with, especially when the return (of accepted applicants) is so low. Each college requires something different in their application process, making the entire process quite lengthy. Instead of wasting that time and energy only to receive a refusal, invest it wisely and make an effort to stand out on your college application.

Know What Each College Is Looking For

College recruiters, be it for undergraduate or graduate programs, want students that will embody the spirit of the university. They want participants that will succeed in their particular academic environment. Show that you have done your research on the program you have applied to and cater to their individualized mission statements. Make it known that you are a good fit for the school and the program. If it is possible, mention faculty that you would be excited to work with.

Write (and Speak) from the Heart

Perhaps not-so-surprisingly, showing a genuine and honest interest is much more valuable than fabricating or embellishing information to sound interesting. Instead, write and speak in detail about the truth. Show that you notice small things. Liven-up your written work by elaborating on the exact feeling you had when you completed your first art exhibition or the squeak of your shoes as you walked up to the podium for an amazing speech you gave. The things you notice and mention in your writing have a lot of personality. If you are doing an interview, the same concept of authenticity applies.

Indicate Genuine Interest

While researching the college beforehand and writing honestly aid this endeavor, backing up your claims of interest with evidence is a sure way to stand out from the rest. Applying for one of the best health law schools? Include your award from the Pre-Law Society and mention the number of hours you’ve spent volunteering at the local hospital. Make sure your extracurricular activities are relevant and can help you demonstrate your passion for the field.

Showing that you are a real person with true interest in the university and field is a great way to stand out in your application. Show the office of admissions that you are hard-working, capable, and worthy of the program. Beyond that, you want to show them that you will learn from their program and use it to be a true asset to society.

This article was contributed by guest author Marlena Stoddard.


Tips For Choosing A College Major You Won’t Regret

Image by UNE Photos, Flickr

Image by UNE Photos, Flickr

Choosing a college major is a big decision that will affect the course you take in life, and many students experience serious stress when faced with the decision. With looming debt and increased competition, it’s perhaps more important than ever to make an informed, careful decision on your college major so you won’t regret your choice after graduation.

Don’t Panic
Remember that whatever major you choose, it will not be the end-all of your career and life. You can always change careers later or go back to school, and many employers won’t care what your college major was once you have several years of work experience to draw upon.

Know Where Your Passions Lie
Perhaps the most important thing to consider when selecting a college major you won’t regret is whether or not it will enable you to follow your passion. Even if the numbers are against you, if you choose that more practical engineering degree over that fine art major, you might find yourself miserable in a poorly matched career. If you don’t know where your passions lie, take different courses and experiment while in college to see what resonates with you.

Research What Fields Pay Well And What Degrees Are In Demand
Yes, which majors are in demand and what careers pay well should be a factor in your decision. After all, it is likely that you will graduate with debt, as many college students do, and will need some way of paying that off. But it’s also important to remember that hiring trends and in-demand majors change, so take that into account when deciding. A bachelor’s degree in health information management, for example, can quickly lead to a rewarding career. Choosing a major that leads to in demand jobs and growing fields can make your post-college life much more enjoyable.

Other Things To Consider
Talking to or shadowing professionals currently working in the field or career(s) in which you’re interested is a great way to see whether or not a particular major is what you should be pursuing. You can also talk to recent graduates. Not only will connecting with people in various fields help you decide on a college major, but those contacts might be able to help you find or get a job later. Also consider things like whether it is in your best interests to pursue a graduate degree. For some bachelor’s, it is impractical, while for others it is necessary to get all the educational benefits and the best positions in the field.

Choose a major based on your passions, what degrees are in demand, and what careers offer the best growth and pay. Be sure to do research, either by speaking with professionals or recent graduates and looking at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You’ll be sure to find the best match for you.

This article was contributed by guest author Anita Ginsburg.