Consider Your Future Now
As a high school student, the prospect of leaving for college can seem both thrilling and terrifying. While location and financial aid may play a big part in your decision, a more serious consideration should be your choice of major. While going into college undeclared is a popular choice, don’t be completely in the dark about where your future lies. For a better understanding of what to study in college, consider these questions:
What Career Do I Want?
Too many students focus on their choice of major rather than their career. A college degree is ultimately a means to an end. Yes, college is fun but it’s time to prepare for a successful future career, hopefully in a line of work you love. Make a list of careers that interest you and search for common classes or degrees they require.
“Make a list of careers that interest you and search for common classes or degrees they require.”
While the Internet provides a host of information about majors, nothing is quite as accurate as a person in the field. If possible, find a professional in that career. A current professional can give you a better understanding of the classes and certifications required for success. This will help avoid time-wasting credits or picking the wrong major altogether. Look beyond the next four years and determine which career path you want to travel down.
Where Do I Envision Myself Working?
The advent of the Internet and global communication has made today’s workplace open 24/7. The traditional 9-to-5 jobs are getting harder to find and more startup companies and tech fields are exploring integration of home and work life. Determine what type of schedule you prefer before signing up for a college major.
Getting a degree in engineering can almost guarantee a day shift job while a nursing degree is sure to result in working holidays and weekends. If you imagine yourself working outdoors, a degree in mathematics or history probably won’t yield many job opportunities. Deciding what schedule and areas you prefer to work in should play a key role in finding your major.
Do I Want to Study Abroad?
While earlier generations may never have left their home country, today’s world relies on international business. Many careers not only encourage but require international travel as well as speaking and thinking in a second language. A second language can open up doors to careers and opportunities not available to monoglots. A study abroad programme is not only a great experience on its own but can also boost your future career.
“While earlier generations may never have left their home country, today’s world relies on international business.”
Study abroad programmes take time and planning. While a summer backpacking through Europe sounds romantic, studying abroad teaches independence and cultural awareness while maintaining a strict course load. Your choice of major can have a major influence on where it’s best to study abroad. The automotive industry in Germany makes it a perfect place for engineering majors while financial majors flourish in England. Students with an interest in study abroad programmes need to start planning early for their time overseas.
How Long Will This Take?
A four-year university course is the traditional route for students but many are finding that five years or more are required to reach their dream jobs. Understanding the amount of time you will spend in school not only sets up a great timeline to follow your progress but also gives a better understanding of the time and money required to achieve your goals.
“Many professional degrees end up taking quite a few more years.”
Many professional degrees end up taking quite a few more years. Doctors regularly go to school for eight years, not including internships and fellowships. Biomedical and automotive engineers need another two years of school enrolled in a master’s degree programme. Even a certified public accountant requires an additional year of experience and needs to pass a certification test to complete. Having a clear idea of how long it will take to achieve your career goals will help you fully plan for your future.
If you’re already considering your future career path in high school, you’re off to a great start. Cementing your ideas for the future in the form of a marketable degree with a career you’re passionate about is the next step. Ask yourself these questions to attain a degree that leads to your happiness.
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Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.