How to Decide What to Study at University: A Comprehensive Guide

Choosing what to study at university can be a daunting task. With so many options available, it can be difficult to decide which path to take. However, taking the time to carefully consider your interests, skills, and career goals can help you make an informed decision.

One of the first steps in deciding what to study is to think about your passions and interests. Consider what subjects you enjoy learning about and what activities you are passionate about. If you are interested in science, for example, you may want to consider studying biology, chemistry, or physics. If you enjoy writing and communicating, you may want to consider studying journalism, English, or communications.

Another important factor to consider is your career goals. Think about what type of job you would like to have after graduation and what skills and knowledge you will need to succeed in that field. Research the job market and find out which industries are growing and which ones are shrinking. This can help you make an informed decision about which degree program to pursue.

Assessing Your Interests and Goals

Choosing a major in college can be a daunting task. With so many options available, it can be challenging to determine which path to take. However, assessing your interests and goals is an excellent first step in selecting a major that aligns with your passions and aspirations.

Identify Your Interests

One way to identify your interests is to reflect on the activities and subjects that excite you. Consider what you enjoy doing in your free time and what classes you have found most engaging in the past. Additionally, think about the skills you want to develop and use in your future career.

It can also be helpful to take a personality or career assessment test. These tests can provide insights into your strengths, weaknesses, and interests, which can help guide your decision-making process.

Consider Your Career Goals

Another important aspect to consider is your career goals. Think about the type of work you want to do and the industries that interest you. Research the job market and the earning potential for different majors to ensure that your goals align with your chosen field of study.

It’s also important to consider the job outlook for your chosen career. Will there be job opportunities available when you graduate, or will the market be oversaturated?

Explore Your Options

Once you have identified your interests and career goals, it’s time to explore your options. Research the majors that align with your passions and aspirations. Look into the course requirements, prerequisites, and electives for each major to determine which one is the best fit for you.

Consider meeting with an academic advisor or faculty member in your chosen major to gain more insight into the field. Additionally, look into internships, volunteer opportunities, and extracurricular activities that can provide hands-on experience and further explore your interests.

MajorMedian SalaryJob Outlook
Computer Science$86,55016% growth
Marketing$135,9008% growth
Psychology$80,3703% growth

Remember, choosing a major is a personal decision, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Take the time to assess your interests and goals, explore your options, and make an informed decision that aligns with your passions and aspirations.

Researching Degree Programs

Choosing the right degree program can be a daunting task, but it’s important to put in the effort to ensure you make the right decision. Here are some steps to help you research and evaluate university programs:

Research University Programs

Start by researching different universities and the programs they offer. You can use online search engines, university websites, and college guidebooks to gather information. Consider factors such as location, campus culture, and reputation when making your list of potential universities.

Once you have a list of universities, research the programs they offer. Look for programs that align with your interests and career goals. You can use online resources such as College Scorecard or College Navigator to compare programs and universities based on factors such as graduation rates, average salaries, and student debt.

Evaluate the Curriculum

Once you have a list of potential programs, evaluate the curriculum of each program. Look for programs that offer courses that align with your interests and career goals. Consider the flexibility of the program and the availability of courses that interest you.

You can also evaluate the curriculum by looking at the program’s requirements. Look for programs that have a balance of required courses and electives. Consider the type of assignments and projects you will be required to complete, and whether they align with your learning style and interests.

Consider the Faculty

The faculty of a program can have a significant impact on your learning experience. Look for programs that have experienced and knowledgeable faculty members. You can research faculty members by looking at their credentials, publications, and research interests.

You can also reach out to faculty members and ask questions about the program. This can help you get a better understanding of the program and whether it’s a good fit for you.

Overall, researching degree programs is an important step in choosing the right university and program. Take the time to gather information, evaluate the curriculum, and consider the faculty to make an informed decision.

Considering Practical Factors

When considering what to study at university, it’s important to think about practical factors that can affect your experience and future career. Here are some key practical factors to consider:

Location and Campus Life

The location of a university can have a big impact on your experience. Consider factors such as the climate, culture, and community of the area. Do you prefer a big city or a smaller town? Are there opportunities for internships or part-time jobs in your field of study? Additionally, campus life is an important factor to consider. Will you be living on campus or commuting? What extracurricular activities and organizations are available?

It’s important to research and visit potential universities to get a sense of the location and campus life. Check out the university’s website for information on housing, student life, and local resources. You can also reach out to current students or alumni to get their perspective.

Cost and Financial Aid

Cost is a major practical factor to consider when choosing a university. Tuition, fees, and living expenses can vary greatly between universities. It’s important to research and compare costs to find a university that fits your budget. Additionally, consider the availability of financial aid, such as scholarships, grants, and loans. Many universities offer financial aid packages to help offset the cost of attendance.

UniversityTuitionRoom and Board
University of California, Los Angeles$13,240 (in-state)
$42,994 (out-of-state)
University of Texas at Austin$10,610 (in-state)
$38,326 (out-of-state)
University of Florida$6,381 (in-state)
$28,659 (out-of-state)

Job Prospects and Salary

One of the main reasons for attending university is to prepare for a career. It’s important to consider the job prospects and potential salary for your chosen field of study. Research job outlooks and average salaries for careers in your field. Additionally, consider the reputation and resources of the university’s career center. Does the university have connections with employers in your field?

Some resources to consider when researching job prospects and salary include the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn.

Making a Decision

Choosing what to study at university can be a daunting task, but with the right approach, it can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Here are some steps to help make the decision-making process less overwhelming:

Narrow Down Your Options

The first step in making a decision is to narrow down your options. Start by researching different majors and courses that interest you. Look at the course descriptions and requirements to see if they align with your interests and goals. You can also talk to your high school guidance counselor or a college advisor for guidance.

Consider your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your passions and hobbies. Think about what you want to achieve in your career and how your chosen major can help you reach your goals. Remember that your major does not necessarily determine your career path, but it can help you develop the skills and knowledge you need to succeed.

Visit Campuses and Talk to Students

Once you have narrowed down your options, it’s important to visit campuses and talk to current students. This will give you a better sense of the campus culture, student life, and academic programs. Attend campus tours, information sessions, and open houses to get a feel for the campus environment.

While on campus, talk to current students about their experiences in your chosen major. Ask about their favorite classes, professors, and extracurricular activities. This will give you a better sense of what to expect and help you make an informed decision.

Make a Final Decision

After you have gathered all the information you need, it’s time to make a final decision. Consider all the factors, including your interests, strengths, goals, and the information you gathered during your campus visits. Remember that this is a personal decision, and you should choose a major that aligns with your interests and goals.

Once you have made a decision, it’s important to stay flexible. Your interests and goals may change over time, and it’s okay to switch majors or change your career path. Remember that your major is just one part of your college experience, and there are many opportunities to explore new interests and develop new skills.

For more information on how to choose the right major, check out How to Choose a College — Which College is Right for Me? by the University of Portland.