In the months leading up to your first day of college, talk of scholarships, school supplies, majors and classes abound. Whether you’re talking about setting up your residence hall room or trying to submit your FAFSA, you’ve got college on your mind.
Chances are, you’ve probably picked a field of study based on your interests, strengths and opportunities for employment. Or maybe you have a general idea of what career you’d like to pursue but aren’t sure about the specifics. With so many related programs, how do you choose the one that’s right for your career goals?
Are you undecided about your career field? That’s OK. Check out this article about exploring your options.
What You Should Consider
“Students should begin with the end in mind,” said Shawn Albert, BJU’s director of Career Services. Instead of stressing over choosing a major, begin with what you do know — your desired career. Approaching decisions about your college major with career goals in mind allows you to narrow the options.
First, pick the handful of majors that are related to your field. Next, compare the programs’ requirements, hands-on learning opportunities and outcome objectives through the program pages. Have you already taken the required tests and received the right scores to enroll in certain programs? Do the careers listed fit your desired path?
Then, analyze your selected list of programs with other important questions in mind. Should you specialize in your field or select a more general program of study? The nuances of similar programs may angle your career path in a different direction than you first intended. The demand for specialists in your field and potential salary may deter or encourage your pursuit of a program.
What about choosing a concentration (a more focused track within the program)? Many programs — like Biblical Studies, Biology, Engineering and Health Sciences — offer students this opportunity. Investigate the program page’s sample course outline, paying attention to the program classes for each. By clicking on the specific classes within the sample schedule, you can access the description box which provides an overview of class content.
Will your program of study require additional schooling? For some programs, a bachelor’s degree is just the beginning. Master’s and doctorate degrees through medical school or seminary may be essential for success in your career. Consider how long you’ll be in school and how much money it’ll cost when choosing a program. Don’t forget to apply for financial aid before coming to college, too.
See Also: Program Snapshots on BJUtoday
What You Can Do
Albert recommended that students talk with others in their desired career field about their jobs. Students can talk with mentors, members of their community or even connect with professionals over LinkedIn. By asking Alumni Relations to connect you with a BJU graduate in your desired field, you can network with reliable sources who’ve been in your shoes.
Consider volunteering within your career of interest or job-shadowing to gain first-hand experience in the workplace. If you’re a current high school student, you can take dual enrollment classes during the semester or in the summer to explore introductory courses and complete core requirements early.
Attending EDUcamp in the summer allows high school students to delve into their area of interest in a low-pressure environment. Additionally, visiting BJU during the school year allows you to meet others within your desired career field, attend classes in an area of interest and speak with faculty in programs you’re considering.
See Also: Exploring Your Future at EDUcamp
Still undecided about which major is right for you? The humanities and interdisciplinary studies programs offer students the ability to expand and customize their learning experience through multiple disciplines of study.
“There are likely multiple paths to the career you have chosen,” said Rebecca Weier, director of Student Engagement and Success. “Choosing the path that is best for you is where a conversation with an academic or career coach could be invaluable.”
See Also: Student Resources
First-year advisors partner with admitted students to create a path of success during college. They answer questions about college and help set up a good schedule. An often overlooked source can assist this weighty decision: your parents. Parents know you the best and have valuable knowledge from college and life experiences that may inform your choice.
You can also check out the undergraduate catalog for the 2021–22 school year that contains a breakdown of each program of study offered at BJU. This valuable resource details a suggested four-year schedule with descriptions of courses, concentrations and minors. Program opportunities like study abroad and TESOL certificates are also covered.
Visit bju.edu/academics for more information.