The thought of college is already exciting enough on its own, thanks to the prospect of more freedom, excitement, and opportunity. But when you’re choosing a college, and then a major, and then signing up for courses, it can all get a little overwhelming – and fast. It’s important to remember one key thing: College is the first big step toward your future career.
“We encourage our students to think of their first days on campus [or online, if they’re online students] as the first day of their careers,” says Doree Rice, the associate director of the Career Development department at Full Sail University.
Generally, what you decide to study in college relates to what you want to do after you graduate. Different colleges cater to different industries, so it’s important to do your research and find the right fit. Talk with career counselors, visit college campuses, and read about each school’s specific degree programs. An article on The Princeton Review suggests that students pursue the subjects they love, but also research those subjects to “make sure you’re ready for the coursework the career of your dreams requires.”
It’s okay if you don’t have everything figured out on day one: “It’s perfectly okay and completely normal to not have your career plans all figured out on the first day,” says Rice. “According to recent reports, more than 70 percent of students change their major at least once before graduating. At a university such as Full Sail, most begin with at least a strong industry direction, but keeping an open mind to the many career paths within that industry is a good thing and allows for exploration and new options.”
Every step you take in college is a step toward your future. Even if your career goals change, you can always still be working on your professionalism: “You don’t have to know exactly what area of your industry you want to pursue,” says Rice. “But, you should be intent on learning all that you can and positioning yourself as a professional (branding, social media presence, research, etc.) to find success in your industry of choice.”