Making the decision to go to college is not an easy or inexpensive one, and regardless of whether or not it is being paid for with scholarships, hard earned savings from your parents or student loans, choosing the right degree to set you up for success is often something that is overlooked by budding students.
So how do you choose what degree to obtain? It can be confusing to navigate, but since you are paying a lot of money for it, you should spend a lot of time thinking about it.
1. Go through the list of what is available and narrow it down
Looking at all the disciplines and majors available can be overwhelming, but take your time and cull down the list until you have your top three choices of what you think you might like to study.
2. Research into what jobs are available post-graduation in those disciplines
Within those narrowed down disciplines are jobs that are available, and you should find out the feasibility of what you could do with that discipline after graduation. Too many students take what sounds interesting in college only to realize upon graduation that their discipline is either too much of a mixed bag to be useful to an employer, or that there is simply too much competition and supply in that industry or field and employers cherry pick who they want to hire.
3. Find out how likely it is you will be hired and what your salary will be
The best way to figure out if your degree is something employers will pay for is to go online and look at job search boards like Monster or Workopolis.
Take a look at what jobs are available for the degree you are planning to obtain, and after you know what your job title might be and the companies you might be working for, visit the GlassDoor website and try and gauge how much you might expect to get paid as a starting salary for the position you are aiming for.
It’s always a good idea to have a goal position in mind before choosing a degree, so that upon graduation you aren’t floundering as to where to apply and for what degree they might require to work there.
4. Connect with someone in the industry
The best way to figure out what your chances are in the industry, is simply to connect with someone. It might seem daunting just to go on LinkedIn and ask for help or advice, but you would be surprised as to how helpful people want to be to those coming into the industry.
Be sure to take the time to think about how to politely request for help and advice, maybe even suggesting a coffee meet up if they live in your area (with you footing the bill of course).
After they give you advice and help you figure out if it’s something you might enjoy doing, don’t forget to thank them.
The connections you make in researching what job to do can also be valuable for when you graduate because if you do decide to go into that field, you will already know someone there and they may be able to help you get a coveted summer internship where they work, or better yet, a job offer when you’re ready.
The bottom line is that it can be a fine balance between following your dreams and making sure you have chosen a sustainable career.
One last piece of advice is not to forget that you can always do both – dabble in your passions on the side and concentrate on a career during the work week.