• Ros Geuss

Major Decisions-Planning with a Purpose

You have a vision of your future that includes an exciting job that will satisfy and fulfill. You want to be productive, appreciated, and employable. So you decide to go to college.

And now everyone is asking:

“What will you major in?” or “What do you plan to do after you graduate with a degree in ________?”

Knowing your Purpose

These questions are often difficult to answer…especially in a world marked by seemingly infinite options, unless you know yourself and the purpose for investing in a college education in the first place.

According to an Indiana University study, 80% of students change their major at least once, with an average of three undergraduate changes. Discovering your purpose will help you avoid multiple starts and stops and ending up as one of the many—over 37%– of all college-educated workers who wish they chose a different major. Having a purpose will guide your critical evaluation of choices: classes, degrees, and experiences that will develop the competencies in preparation for the many different directions and opportunities life might offer.

In High School and College

Think seriously about the person you hope to become. Talk to people about their careers:

  • How did they get their start?

  • What skills are essential in their work?

  • What would they have done differently?

  • What advice would they have for a person with your interests and strengths?

Since people are most satisfied with their jobs when they are using at least 75% of their favorite skills, research majors that will capitalize on your natural strengths.

  • Discover where people end up after pursuing different majors.

  • Explore professional associations for guidance related to entering their industry.

  • Work and volunteer: you can gain valuable insight into yourself, courses, majors, and careers that capitalize on your strengths.

Students often feel pressured to select a major based on limited experience and a few general education classes. Lacking a sense of purpose, students are more likely to grab a fun-sounding major only to be disappointed, experience failure, and change majors or even schools - once…or more. Students who plan and declare a major prior to enrollment are more likely to be focused, satisfied with their courses, and graduate ‘on time’.

Thoughtful, purposeful academic planning makes fiscal sense especially when considering the following:

  • One additional semester is a 10% premium, or close to $10,000 (Indiana University study).

  • Increased time for degree completion may impact financial aid and government loans.

  • Although institutions vary, college course costs can range

  1. From $200.00 to over $2,000/credit hour

  2. And $4,000 –$9,000/private college course

If you are making decisions or changing directions, take pause and reflect. Seek information. Use your resources: there are many people in your world who can help you make informed decisions. Choosing a major to position you to land promising occupations and employment in tomorrow’s industries requires thoughtful planning. Keep your purpose in focus, and you will find success and satisfaction.

For support as you uncover opportunities and make major life decisions about college and career development, reach out to Ros: 845.663.4308 or