Help choosing majors available

Historically, choosing a major was choosing your future. You were committing to studying an area with the intent of entering that field and working in it for the remainder of your life. In today’s society and the ever-changing economy, that is not always the case.

Students struggle with the decision on what to study depending on the current state of the economy, which field they might want to work in, or those unsure whether to study something broad and flexible.

Thirty-five percent of students enter college at UH “Undecided” about what major they want to focus on. Students must declare a major by 30 credit hours. Even when students enter UH with a declared major, about 25 percent change it at least once before graduation, as of May 2010.

The most popular majors at UH include: Psychology, Biology and Business. The College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences is the largest department on campus, followed by University Scholars and the Business School.

The attractions to these schools vary from student to student. Some wish to enter that field while others see a degree in business as a gateway to a related, but different career.

“I am studying Electrical Engineering with the hope of one day incorporating that knowledge and education into a career in the music field,” said electrical engineering sophomore Pedro Berrizbeitia.

Adding a minor is a tool sometimes used by students to supplement a major. Minors can specialize a chosen major, for example choosing a major in business with a minor in accounting.

In other instances, adding a minor could serve to diversify a student’s knowledge base. For example, if a student hopes to one day own an art gallery and decides to major in art but also wants to know how to manage the business side of owning and operating the gallery, he or she might want to add a minor in business administration.

Some students wishing to enter law school upon graduation, major in political science and choose a writing or research intensive minor.

When deciding upon a minor, many students do not begin to consider until their senior year whether they wish to continue their education with an advanced degree. Many degrees, such as biology or psychology, are chosen as stepping-stones to careers requiring further education, while other majors such as architecture or media studies tend to fulfill the educational necessities of their given fields.

The majors leading students to graduate school are typically science related, education, and business. Within the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, for example, “the department with the highest percentage of students continuing on to graduate school would be Communication Science and Disorders, where 54 percent of those getting a bachelor’s had been accepted and were planning to attend graduate school in the Fall,” said Amy O’Neal, director of assessment and accreditation services.

The University offers free counseling for students who are unsure of what they want to major in or have doubts about the major they have already declared.

“The UH University Career Services office has career-matching exercises that can assist a student in choosing a major. I do suggest connecting with their office,” said Jeffrey Fuller, director of student recruitment.

The economy has been one of the most prominent focal points in today’s society and students are beginning to wonder if they should chose a major or career path based upon the current job market.

According to the Chicago Tribune, career experts say students should major in whatever area most interests them, even if it’s a less specialized liberal arts field, such as English or sociology. In a national survey, communication, followed closely by a strong work ethic and teamwork skills, were rated as the most important attributes sought by employers.

“The College of Technology and Bauer College of Business have some of the highest employment after graduation, but all majors continue to show high rates of employment after graduation,” Fuller said.

According to a study done by ‘Ebay Classifieds” in March 2011, the career field with the highest projected rate of growth is Biomedical Engineering, followed by careers in the health care field.

A similar study done by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the field of Computer Network Systems and Data Communication Analysis has the largest projected area of growth by 2016. Computer Software Engineering and Accounting also appeared at the top of that list.

CNN reported that the job in the highest demand with the highest pay is that of the Medical Science Liaison. The position requires knowledge in both the medical field and the legal field, as it consists of relaying information to providers, potential clients, insurance companies, and doctors.

“Choose a major that is most aligned with your passion and desire to make a difference in your pursued major,” Fuller said.

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