How to Choose a Major When Going Back to School


Even if you already have a bachelor’s degree, you may be considering going back to school to earn another degree. In some cases, it can be cheaper and quicker to get another undergraduate degree than to pursue a higher one. Plus, you will have the option of switching career paths. Regardless of your reasons for going back to school, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Consider Your Financial Situation

It is no secret that some degrees are more costly than others. A simple business degree might be cheaper than going back to school for a medical profession. That may be partly because the business field can be learned remotely, while medical education almost always requires being there in person. You do have some options for lowering your monthly expenses to make your current degree more affordable. You could refinance your current student loans into a new one. A student loan refinance might give you just the flexibility you need to successfully pursue a second degree.

Consider Your Current Skills and Abilities

Your abilities refer to what you can do and what you have a natural inclination towards. Knowing the areas you are skilled in, as well as the areas you can work on, can help you start to eliminate areas when choosing your new major. But don’t write off the places you don’t have as much ability, as you can always work on them. Think about the beliefs that are important to who you are as a person. This can lead you to encouraging and rewarding work. Still, don’t focus only on your values. That's because you may find you grow and develop a lot during this time.

Consider the Future

Even though it’s not uncommon to go back to school as an adult learner, if you can avoid having to do that, you should. It is important to pick something you can see yourself doing five or 10 years into the future. Think about whether this is only a passing fancy or whether you will enjoy doing this thing many years into the future. Ask yourself whether your passions and interests will still be the same many years into the future. If you are not sure about this, consider getting majoring in something general, like communications instead of writing. This gives you a broader base to work off of. 

Of course, it is critical to consider whether the major is in a field where you will be employable. You will want to think about whether you can easily get a job in this field after graduation. Some fields are much harder to get into than others once you graduate, so spend some time doing your research. One area to look at is whether this area will even be around in the future. Technological innovation and progress have changed many areas, and artificial intelligence means some jobs may become obsolete. Being able to stay on top of this technology can help you stay ahead.

Choosing the Right School 

The school you choose will also impact your job opportunities after graduation. Some specialize in certain areas, and more selective universities often have more opportunities. Of course, larger schools often have many options as well, so do your research.