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Major Vs. Minor College Degrees

by David McGuffin, Demand Media
    Some students arrive at college knowing what they want to study while others may take a few years to decide.

    Some students arrive at college knowing what they want to study while others may take a few years to decide.

    If you are new on the college scene or are just getting around to declaring your major, then there are many things to consider when making your decision. Learning from experiences, considering what is most practical, plans for after college, consulting trusted advisors or parents and finding areas of study that you enjoy are all components of the decision that goes into declaring your major and minor areas of study while in college.

    Majors and Minors

    Your major at college describes your main area of study, which can also have sub-categories or concentrations. For example, one person might have a major in history with a concentration in Asian history. Depending on your chosen major, you may spend between 30 to 80 credits in courses for your major alone. Minors typically compose less than 20 hours of credit throughout your college education and can either represent a side interest for your own or an area of study that complements your major or intended career path.

    Future Career Considerations

    According to CollegeBoard.com, there are "many careers that favor" a specific major, therefore, it is important to take your time when choosing your course of study. Your college major is typically going to be listed on you resumé when you apply for a job. However, your minor is usually not as relevant unless it is closely associated with the position for which you are applying.

    How to Decide

    In some cases students arrive at college knowing what they want to study, and may be able to begin taking courses in their major or minor fields during their first year of college. However, most students need to experiment with taking different general education, elective classes or special topics courses in order to decide which major is right for them. Students may also want to take the advice of trusted advisors, parents, older students or teachers knowledgeable in a specific area of study to learn about certain classes or how to meet career objectives after college.

    Reality Check

    Part of going to college is discovering what drives you and what your interests are. According to Quintcareers.com, "most college students change their major at least once" during their education. It is also important to know that many graduates who enter the workforce do not start out with their chosen profession or in a field that is related to their degree. It may take several years, relocation, extensive job-hunting and networking in order to find the job that you want, which, by that time, may not be related to your major or minor areas of study.

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    About the Author

    David McGuffin is a writer from Asheville, N.C. and began writing professionally in 2009. He has Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of North Carolina, Asheville and Montreat College in history and music, and a Bachelor of Science in outdoor education. McGuffin is recognized as an Undergraduate Research Scholar for publishing original research on postmodern music theory and analysis.

    Photo Credits

    • college's building image by Leonid Tarassishin from Fotolia.com

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