Deciding what to major in at a college or university can be a stressful decision, but do not worry too much, because according to the National Center for Education Statistics, “About 80 percent of students in the United States end up changing their major at least once” and “On average, college students change their major at least three times over the course of their college career.”
Starting a new life
Many veterans get out of the military and try to find a major related to their MOS or rate. Using your experience in the military as groundwork for your degree can be extremely helpful, but do not hesitate to take this opportunity to explore something new. Experience in the military will help you in academics and work even if you do something completely different than your career in the military. This is a great opportunity to reinvent yourself. I got out of the Coast Guard as a mechanic. I was good at my job, but I did not enjoy it. Now I am majoring in Philosophy, which has very little to do with being a mechanic, but I still feel ahead of other students in my major because of other qualities I learned in the military. So do not feel pressured to choose a major simply because it relates to your past job, choose a major, instead, because it is something you like.
Combining strengths and interests
It is important to choose a major that both interests you and you can succeed in. Doing a job just because you are good at it isn’t enough. It is important to do something you like. Conversely, trying to do something that you truly love but are not capable of doing will not end well either.
What do I want to do with my life?
This is a big question, and if you are like me and respond “I have no idea” there are still majors out there for you. Pick a major based on the career you want to pursue. College will only last 4 years (more for graduate work) but you will be stuck with that degree and job field for the rest of your life. So if you are really interested in biology classes, but your goal is to be a politician, you may want to consider a major in political science. If you do not know what you want to do then consider a major in a broad subject like philosophy or liberal arts. You can also major in math, social work, or psychology if you know the field you want but not the exact job you want.
B.A. vs B.S.
Both a bachelor’s in arts and a bachelor’s in science are great degrees. A B.S. is helpful in very obvious ways. The degrees offered tend to directly prepare you for a certain profession. A B.A. tends to be a bit more abstract. You may need to do more work on your cover letters explaining why your degree prepares you for a certain job. B.A.’s tend to teach you more how to think independently.
Picking a major is tough, but you will have plenty of time to change your mind if you need to. Take this opportunity to revisit your goals and choose a major that you are interested in, you are capable of learning, and leads to a career you are interested in either directly or indirectly.