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Choosing A College Degree
Applying for college in the US? How do you choose what programme to follow?
There's lots to take into consideration, and these next few tips should help you narrow down your choices...
1. What major do you want to follow?
If you decide to apply for a degree in the U.S, it must be in a specified field known as a 'major'.
Although most undergraduate schools do not require applicants to choose a major before they are admitted, all students must select their major by the end of the second year.
It is a good idea to know what subject you would like to study before deciding on which universities or colleges you are going to apply to.
This way you can choose institutions that not only offer that subject as a major, but which also have strong courses in that subject.
It's essential to choose a major that interests you and suits your future career aspirations, to help you make the best effort in your studies, and ultimately,set you on your career path of choice - so make sure to choose something that is a passion of yours!
Some colleges and universities have highly reputable (although normally very competitive), degree programs in some fields, but weaker programs in other fields.
If you are not sure what subject to choose for your major, try not to worry. Many American students start their first year of college 'undeclared', i.e. with no selected major.
A good choice for a student who has not selected a major is a liberal arts college.
These institutions offer a wide range of majors, so it is likely you will be able to find something that interests you.
Also, at a liberal arts college you will be introduced to various subjects as part of the course requirements for graduation.
Exposure to these subjects may make it easier for you to select a major by the end of your second year in college.
You can check out which are the best liberal arts colleges in the U.S on the U.S News Liberal Arts Rankings webpage, and find more detailed information at schoolsintheusa.com.
2. Think about the minor too!
What you choose to study as a minor can also be incredibly beneficial. It gives you a great opportunity to link subjects, and expand your horizons, building your skills, experience and contacts, so choose carefully!
3. Read the course content / syllabus
Apart from studying a subject that interests you, some careers need specific knowledge and training, so make sure your proposed programme covers the things you will need for your future career aspirations; course content will vary from institution to institution, so it's essential you check you'll be learning the things you need to learn.
4. How much will it cost?
Taking your bachelor level education is expensive, so you want to make sure you are getting a return on your investment.
According to salary.com, economics based majors offer the best return on investment, with psychology faring the worst.
5. What would be your future salary expectations
According to Georgetown's 'The Economic Value of College Majors' report, over three quarters of students choose their major based on the future potential earning opportunities, with those choosing a business, mathematics, science, engineering, architecture or computing major going on to earn the most.
If potential salary expectations is a driving force for you, look for colleges that specialise in these areas!
6. Further education opportunities
Some career choices need post-graduate education, so be sure to check if your destined career path needs this. If so, choose a major that will allow you to continue your education at a post-graduate level.
7. What do professionals think?
When considering what programme to follow, you'll naturally consult those around you, such as family, friends and educators, however, it's also worth finding out what professionals working in the field you wish to enter think about your choices; look to industry bodies and major employers for information on minimum entry standards.
For more help and advice on applying to university in the U.S, please see: