Picking a college major is one of the toughest decisions you’ll make in your young adult life. Think about it: how many people do you know who spent tens of thousands of dollars to get a degree and then couldn’t find a job? Probably a lot.
One of the guys I used to work with always joked that his daughter-in-law paid $50,000 to get a degree in basket weaving. You don’t want to end up in the same boat. You want to pick a career that you enjoy but that will also provide you enough money to live on (something like an MSc in financial accounting for all my finance lovers).
When it comes to picking your major, there are a lot of things you should be thinking about.
Let’s take a look.
What Do You Enjoy?
When choosing a major you need to think about not only what you like now, but what you’ll like in several years from now.
You’re paying a lot of money to get an education so you need to make that education work for you.
Think of things that you’re passionate about. What kind of job could you do every single day of your life without making you miserable?
While you don’t have to love your career, you need to at least mildly enjoy it. After all, you’re going to spend around 30% of your life working!
Plus, when you pick a career you enjoy, you will naturally be better at your job and have more room for improvement.
How Much Money Will You Need in the Future?
As a young college student it’s difficult to look far into the future, but this is something you need to do. You need a career that allows you to live the kind of life you want. This will look different for everyone.
Think about these questions:
- How much student debt are you taking out?
- What are your future financial goals?
- What’s the cost of living in your city?
- Do you plan on starting a family someday?
By answering these questions you can get an idea of how much money you’re going to need each year to live a comfortable life.
And just in case you were wondering, here are some of today’s top-paying jobs for recent college grads (from Boston.com):
- Investment banker
- Software developer
- Internet marketer
- Financial analyst
- Web designer
- Registered nurse
You should keep salary in mind when choosing your major, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you factor into your choice.
Combine the Two
If you can get a rough idea of how much money you want to make in the future and pair that with something you can see yourself doing every day, you’ll be able to pick a winning major.
How did you go about choosing your college major? Any regrets?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.