Choosing a Degree Program for College

Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Major

Education is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. It will involve a great deal of time, money, and energy, but earning a degree is beneficial in both the short and long term.

If you pursue a degree, the constant flow of decision-making is readily apparent. Throughout your degree, you’ll eventually need answers to various questions. Which school should I go to? What associations and clubs should I join? Which mentors should I study under? And most importantly, what should I major in?

A major is no small decision. You’ll need to weigh many different factors to determine your ideal educational and occupational niche. Read on to learn which factors are most important to consider when choosing a degree program.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are you interested in?

It’s essential to choose a major that resonates with you. You should focus more on the long-term interests that have stuck with you through the years when it comes to interests. Hobbies and favorite pastimes can change month to month and year to year. Instead, make a list of your interests — past and present — and see if you spot a pattern. Is there something similar between the topics that hold your attention, and are there careers where that core interest might be present?

Though your interests aren’t the only consideration when deciding on your major, they are significant, so don’t underestimate their value. If you’re committing to a long-term career in a particular field, it might as well be one you feel good about. Be honest with yourself. Just because a specific career path is in high demand or could make you a lot of money, it might not necessarily be for you, and that’s okay.

What are you good at?

In addition to your interests, pay attention to where your natural talents lie. If you notice that a particular subject or task comes easier to you than it does to others, that’s an excellent place to start. Devote time and energy into refining your techniques and take courses in the subjects that capitalize on your talents. Nobody is born an expert, so don’t expect to master a subject right away. Over time, you can become a force to be reckoned with in your desired field if you double down on your proficiencies.

Where do you want to live?

It’s also worth considering where you want to end up. Many areas and regions are known as “hubs” for specific industries. Think about the climate, culture, population density, and other aspects important to your lifestyle, and look into cities that fit those criteria. Once you have some locations in mind, research the different jobs and industries that flourish in those areas and see if you come up with a match for your talents and interests.

What are the career prospects for the major you are considering?

At the end of the day, a significant consideration in picking a major comes from its potential to prepare you for success in a related career. Can you get a job (or start your own viable business) with the degree you are considering?

It’s also worth asking how difficult the job itself will be and whether or not you’re up for the task. Is it a career you can see yourself doing long-term? Do you imagine yourself sticking with the profession, or does the idea of staying in that field make you feel trapped and stressed?

You’ll also want to think about how long the career itself will endure. Is the job expected to last well into the future, or will it be obsolete in just a few years? Will that role or field still exist in 10 or 20 years?

While considering a major program’s career aspects, be honest and pragmatic but avoid getting discouraged. Some students experience guilt if their aspirations and career goals veer off the beaten path of more traditional, obviously successful fields. It is essential to understand your career prospects for your desired career, but that doesn’t mean that anything outside of being a doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc., is some frivolous pipe dream. Each of those careers can be very fulfilling for the right personality, but if they don’t sound like your cup of tea, don’t panic.

We’re often told to be “realistic” or “practical” when it comes to careers. That’s good advice, but many sadly take this to mean that some jobs are inherently less valuable. A better way to think about that advice is to apply it to our education and career progression rather than the career choice. Be informed of what your career market looks like, and carefully and pragmatically make plans and set goals to get yourself to the career you’re hoping for. You don’t need to force yourself into a career that doesn’t suit you. Just be smart about how you make your way into your desired field and do the hard work necessary to make it happen.

Will the career provide what you consider to be important?

Ultimately, the most crucial thing a major can do for you is to provide you with what you want out of life. The trouble is, the things you want out of life are personal. How you define “success” varies from how others define it. For that reason, keep your values in mind when considering a degree and career path.

If you value a high-paying job, look into degree programs that prepare you for in-demand careers in specialized fields. If you care more about your overall quality of life, research careers in lower-stress environments. And if work-life balance is important to you, consider careers with more schedule flexibility.


The major you select is an important decision that you think about seriously. Weigh your options thoroughly and make informed decisions based on your values, talents, and interests.

No matter which major you choose, TopOnlineCollege is an excellent resource that can help you find an online college that provides that major in a degree program that’s right for you.