For all students, whether heading to a community college or 4-year university, you will very soon be asked to declare and outline what it is you want to study – what to “major” in. While this is a very important decision, it is equally personal; it is imperative that you make this decision based on interests once you are ready to commit to an academic area.
Among the many misconceptions of the major is that it pigeonholes an individual into one specific career trajectory, i.e., an English degree is a must for future English teachers, studying computer science means you’ll be a programmer your entire career, and majoring in Psychology means you can be only a psychologist. On the contrary, a Bachelor’s degree provides students with fundamentals that manifest across multiple disciplines. In other words, your college degree should equip you with transferable skills to work in a variety of jobs!
Let’s take a closer a look at the example of the International Relations college major. Here are some courses you should expect to take in this field:
– U.S. foreign policy
– International organizations
– International Law
– World politics
– National Security
– International conflict
– Peace studies
– Global environmental issues
This major allows you to specialize in areas such as political science, economics, history, sociology, and foreign languages. Thus, here are just some of the careers that this major leads to:
– Foreign service officer such as Diplomat or Ambassador
– International/Immigration lawyer
– International journalist
– Positions with N.G.O.s (Non-governmental Organizations)
Skills you gain in college are meant to prepare youfor one of two paths immediately following graduation – either a continued educational pursuit of advanced degrees, or an understanding and preparation for entry into the workforce.
Ultimately, the purpose of a bachelor’s degree is to equip students with the tools necessary to be effective in an array of careers. As such, the specific academic area selected as a major is, to a certain extent, irrelevant because the large majority of what they will be taught are transferable skills. That being said, a background in engineering or the concrete sciences will have a significantly different conceptual approach than that of something in Education or the Liberal Arts; hence, it is of utmost importance that students have the opportunity to select the lens they most strongly identify with.