How To Choose The Best Degree Program For You

Choosing a degree program is a big deal, and many factors will contribute to your selecting the right one. Two of the most important include your likes and interests and potential job prospects. And don’t worry. If you pick a degree and decide it’s not right for you after taking a couple courses, it’s not the end of the world. You can always change your major.

So how do you choose a degree program? Let the following steps be your guide.

List your likes and interests

While being financially stable and having a job that provides a paycheck can be invaluable, you should remember that people spend 13 years and two months of their lives at work. That’s a lot of time, which is why it’s essential for your mental health and well-being to work at a job you enjoy. And that’s why looking at your likes and interests is a great place to start when it comes to choosing a degree program.

Reflect on your likes and interests and create a list. Then search for degrees that involve the topics on your list. For example, if you like to read and write, then English or journalism degrees are relatable options.

However, if you like cars and would like to work on automobiles, relevant programs are available, such as automotive and diesel repair programs. There’s a degree for everyone, which is why you have to do your research and be honest with yourself about what you want to major in.

Consider the job prospects for these majors

Once you’ve found degree programs that meet your likes and interests, a good next step is to look at the job prospects for these majors.

According to Student Loan Hero, the college class of 2018 accrued “an average debt of $29,800” by graduation, with 69 percent of students taking out loans. Therefore, you’ll likely have to consider a path that will help you to pay for your degree.

While money is important, financials shouldn’t be the No. 1 reason you choose a major, because you don’t want to spend a lot on a degree in a field you don’t have a passion for. Still, you should look at where a particular field is going, what the business trends are, and what jobs are available upon graduation.

Find universities with those degree programs

Another step in this process is to find universities with the degree you want to major in. Not every school offers the same programs. Plus, programs and curriculums can vary in quality based on the university.

Each university should provide information on both the specifics and outlook of a major, so you can compare the programs and see which one is the best fit for you.

Compare costs and benefits 

Along with comparing university programs in your chosen field for quality, you need to calculate and compare a variety of costs and benefits for every university you’re interested in. Certain schools are more affordable than others. Typically, the tuition at out-of-state and private university is more expensive than that of in-state public schools, though the final amounts will come down to scholarships, awards, grants, and financial aid. But direct financial costs are only one factor.

You might want to go to a university that’s close to home or in a different city, state, or country. You might be interested in a school with a nationally recognized athletic program, or with a campus that has a lot of students (or the opposite). Everyone’s preferences are different. The key is deciding what’s important to you and what you value in a university and education.

Perhaps you want to take all of your courses online. You could look into an online liberal arts associates degree, where you can participate from the convenience of your home.

If you can’t decide on a major, then you can explore your interests by taking introductory classes in the fields that catch your attention. In some cases, you might not even have to declare a major until after your sophomore year.

Choosing a degree program is an important decision, and we hope the steps above can help make your decision easier.

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