College students who choose a major early and stick with it are at a huge advantage. They are less likely to take classes they don’t need and more likely to graduate on time.
But students don’t have to wait until they’re in college to reap the benefits of committing to a major early. Here are five perks that high school students can enjoy by finding the right major now.
1. THEY CAN INCREASE THEIR SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
With tuition prices and student debt on the rise, most students need to find scholarships to reduce their college expenses. Scholarships are typically awarded on the basis of: 1) financial need, 2) academic performance, 3) affiliation with a group or activity, and 4) intended major or career. If students don’t already qualify for scholarships based on the first three criteria, there’s little they can do at the tail-end of high school to become eligible. However, students who are unsure of their major or career plans can actively participate in career and major counseling to find their future path. By doing this, they can become eligible to apply for scholarships awarded to students in their intended major.
2. THEY CAN WRITE COLLEGE ESSAYS WITH GREATER IMPACT
College admissions counselors want to admit students who have a clear understanding of who they are, what they want, and what they have to offer. One way students can demonstrate this is by writing a college essay that explains how they’ve intentionally chosen a major that aligns with their gifts, and how they plan to use it to make a unique contribution to the world. They can also more confidently express why they’re a good fit for a specific college and it’s academic program.
3. IT’S EASIER TO CHOOSE WORTHWHILE COURSES IN HIGH SCHOOL
The courses that students take in high school should prepare them for more advanced college course work. When students know their intended major, they can identify the types of courses they’ll eventually take to complete their college degree. This, ultimately, can inform their high school class choices. For example, a student who plans to study marketing may be surprised to find that business calculus is required for marketing majors. So, instead of taking a lighter math load during his senior year, he can take a pre-calculus or calculus course to better prepare for college.
4. THEY CAN SET THEMSELVES UP FOR INTERNSHIPS NOW
Ideally, students will choose a major that relates to at least one career path that interests them. To become better informed about those career options, students should meet with professionals in those fields to conduct informational interviews. This career exploration strategy not only helps students figure out if a specific career is right for them, but it also helps students begin to build their professional network. That network will be critical for them when they begin looking for internships. Their connections could serve as future references or may even have internship opportunities they can offer to students.
5. THEY ARE PREPARED TO GET MORE OUT OF THEIR FIRST YEAR OF COLLEGE THAN MANY FRESHMEN
Finding and committing to the right major can feel like a daunting task for high school students. But the truth is, it’s not much less daunting for college freshmen. Therefore, there aren’t huge benefits to delaying the inevitable. The sooner students invest time and energy into self-assessment and career exploration, the sooner they’ll find a clear direction for the future. That gives new freshmen with declared majors an advantage. They can spend less time figuring out what to do and more time participating in career-related extra-curricular activities that their peers aren’t ready to discover.
I hope this post has convinced you that lots of benefits come to students who commit to the right major early. If so, the next natural question is, how exactly do students find the right major? I’ve written a few other blog posts that can help. You can read them by using the links below. It’s often easier to find the right fit when you work with a counselor or advisor. Look for help in your high school guidance office or from your home school program. If you can’t find the support you want, Maximize College can help. Click here to learn about the different programs students can take advantage of to build the skills and knowledge to make great choices now.