1. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    Majors (College)

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by adamant, May 24, 2007.

    I was wondering if anyone could aid me in choosing a major. Currently, I am between: a degree in computer science -- which seems to be getting a bit overcrowded; English -- not sure how helpful this can be, how lucrative; or in business/economics -- something I may just do as an elective or the like.

    Basically, I want to know how important deciding a major is. Should I even worry about it? I'm only about to become a freshman. Just how much does direct your learning experience? How far can one branch out of that specific field? And anything else that you feel will be of aid.

    Thanks,
    ad·a·mant
     
  2. The Freshmaker
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    The Freshmaker <insert obscure pop culture reference> Contributor

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    There's nothing wrong with going into your freshman year undeclared. In fact, if you're unsure, it's probably better. You'll be able to take a few classes and get a feel for what you really like. Which, honestly, makes more sense to me.

    Also, keep in mind that a large percentage (I forget the actual statistic, it's something ridiculous like two thirds) of people end up in professions that aren't even relevant to their college degree.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I originally started college as a mathematics major. I switched to chemistry when I walked into my first number theory course, where the professor weeded out the class by jumping into an davanced topic the first day.

    I left school in my sophomeore year, worked as a chemist for a while, and switched professions to computer programming. At that time I began attending night school toward an electrical engineering degree, so I would know both aspects of computer technology.

    My college went bankrupt late in my junior year. After a few more years, I joined my current college, where I am about to receive my degree in information technology.

    From all my experience, both in school and in business, I would say that the degree should reflact the profession you intend to enter for a career. It's not at all unusual to change majors a couple times before you finish. The later in the program, the harder it is to switch without losing credits.

    But the most useful part of college is not the course material itself. It's the general education skills you learn: how to research, how to manage time, how to acqire and retain new skills, and how to communicate effectively.

    So your major should be driven by the jobs you wish to take, because that's what matters on resumes. But in terms of doing what you love, which may not be identical to your profession, will dictate the elective courses you take. And when you graduate, your learning really begins!

    College material consists of the fundamentals, which is always years behind what really goes on in business, especially in a rapidly changing field like computer technology.
     
  4. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    Alright thanks, the Computer Sciences and Liberal Arts campuses are separated by several miles, so I wanted to try to see how I should try and work this all out. Perhaps I will go undeclared, or just on the Liberal Arts campus, seeing as how my general education will be there anyway.

    Any more information would be appreciated, though they seemed to have answered quite thoroughly.
     
  5. sashas
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    sashas Senior Member

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    I'll tell you this from personal experience.

    I was a computer science major in my first semester (I'm currently in my second). I dropped my computer science course within one and a half month.
    Believe me, if you're even slightly artistically inclined, hardcore computer science will literally squeeze you dry. The first few courses are ESPECIALLY hard, if you don't have any prior programming experience. I made a hasty retreat because I simply couldn't imagine myself studying the hollow, time consuming, hard **** thrown at me in the class. Pursuing a career in the field seemed even harder.

    I've switched over to English and Media Studies (Film Production). These dual majors complement each other, and thus, allow for lotsa job opportunities.

    Since you are posting here, I do reckon you're into English. I'd suggest you take up something in this field, preferably a dual major (DON'T take philosophy with english, unless you wanna end up a professor). For me, English was second priority (first is always films), but I know lots of people who have English and Music/Visual Studies/Comparative Literature etc.

    Try taking an elementary computer science course all gen eds in your first semester (take the hardest freshman computer science in your college, since you will essentially be doing much harder stuff later on) to get a feel. If you like it, then good...computer science majors usually take home hefty packages.

    Liberal Arts majors make much much less money (My college website says that the average political science major makes about $26,000 p.a., English major $37,000, while an electrical engg. major can major can make upwards of $55,000 p.a. upon graduation. My cousin, who had an engineering degree just graduated. He's making $56,000 already).

    But point is, if you're good at something, you WILL end up making money in it anyways...
     
  6. phAntAsmAgoriA
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    phAntAsmAgoriA Member

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    Choosing a major as you go into college isn't all that important. Most college have an "undecided major" (or something similarly titled) and a lot of freshman take general courses to achieve a well-rounded education if they don't know quite what they want to do yet. A large percentage of college students will choose a major that they're not sure about and end up working on it for a few years before totally changing their mind and having to start over or completely dropping out. This happened to my older brother. He rushed to make a decision about a major and two years into an electrically engineering program decided he wanted to major in philosophy--go figure. What I'm saying here is this: Don't force yourself to make a definite decision about your major just yet. You have time.

    I'll be an freshman in college this fall, as well. I'm not positive what I'd like to major in--maybe professional writing or journalism or photo journalism. I intend to declare my major as undecided, take some general courses, and a few courses in subjects related to my interests. Once I have some experience with the classes that interest me I'll be able to make a more informed decision on what to major in.

    And a word about majoring in English--don't. My mother graduated with a masters in English four years ago. There aren't a lot of career options for English--either editing or teaching, mostly. And the career outlook for teaching is bad. My mother spent a year looking for a job. *shrug* If majoring in English really appeals to you, go for it. But if you're not terribly interested and you're more concerned about having a job, I'd steer away from an English major. It's just not very practical.

    Of course, this is all my opinion based on knowledge of experience. You're free to do what you wish. But I thought you might be interested in what I've learned from the past.
     
  7. phAntAsmAgoriA
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    phAntAsmAgoriA Member

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    See, now, I believe something like that would work out okay. But if you major in just English it seems like there aren't a ton of jobs out there. Getting more specific than "English" and choosing minors that complement your major makes for a more broad job outlook.
     

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