How to Choose Your Bachelor’s Degree

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Choosing your bachelor’s degree is an important decision that will impact your career opportunities, earnings potential, and job satisfaction down the road. With over 20,000 degree programs available in the US, selecting the best one for your goals and interests takes research and self-reflection. With some careful self-reflection on your interests, skills, and goals, you can find the best undergraduate program for your needs.

Assess Your Interests

Spend time thinking about topics you find fascinating, classes you have enjoyed in the past, and issues you care deeply about. This can reveal areas of interest that may guide your degree choice. Research majors that align with those interests – for example, if you love animals, look into biology, zoology or veterinary majors.

Identify Your Talents and Skills

What activities energize you? What feedback have you received about your natural abilities? Reflect on your talents and skills to find options that allow you to apply these strengths. Someone with strong math ability might consider a computer science or engineering degree, for example.  

Research Career Options

Search online to learn about typical career paths and expected job growth for majors you are considering. For example, those interested in criminal justice can research typical criminal justice career paths like law enforcement, the judicial system, corrections, homeland security, and social services. Understanding possible careers and job prospects can help motivate your studies and course selections.   

Consider Earning Potential

While passion for your major is important, also consider the typical salaries earned in related careers when choosing your degree. Some majors lead to roles with higher earnings potential than others. Research starting and mid-career salaries for the jobs you hope your degree will make possible. 

Get Input from Advisors

Schedule time to meet with academic advisors from programs you are interested in. Ask questions about curriculum details, internships, research opportunities and career preparation services. Academic advisors can provide insider information to help guide your decision. 

Match Programs to Your Goals

Your goals might include attending graduate school, traveling abroad, or landing a great first job after college. Seek out schools and programs that offer opportunities tailored to your goals. If graduate school is the plan, research schools with strong ties to top master’s and doctoral programs in your chosen discipline.

Compare Schools and Curricula

Look into required courses, specialized tracks, independent research options, study abroad programs and internships offered. Weigh factors like academic rigor, hands-on learning, class sizes, and extracurricular activities specific to your degree interests. Determine which schools align best to your priorities.

Choose an Environment That Fits You

Consider what type of college environment suits you best, such as rural or urban location, small liberal arts or major university, proximity to home, student body demographics, or academic pace. Picturing yourself thriving at a school for 4+ years can reveal much about the fit.   

Trust your instincts once you’ve carefully weighed options and priorities. With thorough research and self-reflection, you can feel confident about choosing the bachelor’s degree program that is the best match for your passions, talents, and aspirations after college.

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