Going to college is exciting, yet choosing a major can feel stressful. The best major for you is a mix of interests, skills, topics you like, and what sets you up best to get the kind of role you’ll eventually want. If you’re wondering, “What should I go to college for?” here’s your ultimate quiz — that doesn’t require you to know what “STEM” or “sociology” means.
‘What Should I Go to College For?’ Quiz
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What Should I Go to College For? Advice
You’ve taken the first step in answering the question, “What should I go to college for?” But what’s next after you’ve gotten your results? What other advice should you consider when choosing a school and major?
Block Out the Noise
It can be hard to figure out what you want to attend college for when you have so many outside perspectives telling you what to do. While it’s helpful to remember what trusted individuals want for you — like your parents or college advisors — at the end of the day, your opinion is most important.
“Remember that this is your personal journey,” says Kimberely Tyler-Smith, VP of strategy and growth at Resume Worded. “Choose a major that aligns with your goals and aspirations, not just because it’s what others think is best for you. Ultimately, you are the one who will work in this field, and it’s crucial to find something that keeps you motivated and excited to get up and go to work every morning.”
When answering “What should I go to college for?” remember, your college experience and resume is not just about your major, but also your GPA, extracurricular activities, internships, volunteer opportunities, and more. This means you want to choose a major where you can focus on doing your best — meaning you’re dedicated to attending class, studying, doing well on exams and projects, and having time to participate in activities that build your resume. Finding a major you’re interested in and want to do well in is better than a major you’re just doing to have it on your degree — and ending up with a low GPA and no motivation.
“I have had direct experience with classics majors who were hired for investment banking based on college grades and SAT scores in Math,” says Mary Banks, director of admissions consulting at Quad Education. “Most students are concerned about how the major they select will determine their career options. English is often the best major for graduate study in law and even medicine. My best advice is to be sure you do your best in your program of study as grades and internship experience do count when first pursuing your job of choice or career path.”
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Have a Plan — But Be Flexible
Maybe you have some bigger ideas about what you want to do with your life (and if you don’t, try our “What Should I Do With My Life?” quiz). Even if your dream career feels far away, you can start by working backward to figure out how the college courses you take, major, extracurriculars, and internships can help you get there.
“The biggest mistake students make is not having a plan to guide their career exploration journeys,” Katherine Adams, senior vice president of Pipeline AZ. “The plan should align your interests, passions, and developing skills to industry workforce needs. Having a long-term vision of your career goals can help you find the best work-based experience and educational opportunities now.”
For example, you can write down what skills you need to build, how you’ll learn them, what opportunities you want to explore, and how you’ll land them.
Be sure to write in pencil — or on a computer where you can delete and move things around.
“You can adapt your career map over time based on where each role takes you,” Adams says.
Don’t Put Too Much Pressure on Yourself
Answering “What should I go to college for?” is essential, but it’s not the be-all, end-all, especially when it comes to your career. So many majors apply to various fields and teach you transferable skills you can bring to nearly any professional role.
“Remember that your major doesn’t solely define your career path,” says Eric Eng, college admission expert and founder and CEO of AdmissionSight. “Several successful individuals have majored in one field and built successful careers in entirely different domains. Focus on building a broad set of skills, and don’t limit yourself. Be open to exploring different opportunities; remember, the skills and experiences you gain along the way truly matter.”
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