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Focus on Majors: Majors, Minors, and Concentrations

changing major college major double major focus on majors selecting a college major Feb 10, 2024

Students are typically asked to choose a major when going to college. Understanding choices beyond a major allows them to broaden their area of expertise and interests.

 

Majors:

Your major is defined as the specific, primary area of study you will focus on during your college career. Typically, you don’t have to declare your major until the end of your second year to graduate on time. Anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of your classes will be within this area of study. Your major selection will appear on your official transcript. Coursework will move from introductory classes, through the intermediate level and on to advanced senior level in a cohesive arrangement.

 

Minors:

A minor course of study is a set of classes, from 15 to 18 credit hours, designed to complement and enhance your choice of major. Some college majors require a minor, but typically, the choice of
minor is an individual one for each student to consider. A minor can be your opportunity to explore a new subject of interest or add coursework that enriches your choice of major. Many colleges permit more than one minor and will identify that minor on the official transcript.

 

Concentrations:

This is a coordinated group of coursework that represents a sub-specialization or emphasis within a specific major field of study. Concentrations are defined within your major and allow you
 to customize your experience. The selection of your concentration, sometimes called a 'track', will provide a potential employer with more information about your specific areas of interest and expertise.

 

Most high school students have no clear idea of what they want to study in college – they just know they want to get into the best possible college to help them realize their unique goals and ambitions. When looking at colleges, it is important to review each listing of academic majors available. Is there more than one that draws your interest? According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 80% of college students change their major at least once. As a nod to the understanding that many young people are unclear about their choice of major, some colleges are creating programs designed to encourage exploration across the range of liberal arts disciplines. One more great possibility for some hard-working and talented students is the completion of two majors – this is known as a double major. Careful attention to graduation requirements is critical to successful completion.

 

The opportunity to broaden your undergraduate career by selecting a minor is easily available to most students. Colleges often offer many minors, and several allow students to complete more than one. It is important to work closely with your advisor to be sure that you graduate on time. Two strong reasons for selecting a minor are personal fulfillment and professional enhancement. It also reveals to a prospective employer that you are knowledgeable about several fields, thus making you a more desirable candidate.

 

Students who resist being ‘put in a box’ will be excited to review concentration options within their choice of major. This gives students the chance to choose something that matches their interests, allowing them to explore and gain expertise in a sub-specialization of their major. Examples include Tourism and Hospitality Management with a concentration in Destination and Event Management, English with concentrations in Science, Medicine, and Literature, and Business Management with concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Accounting.

 

Have you heard of Shakespeare’s metaphor about the world being your oyster? Well in this case, a college degree can be your own personal pearl - to be selected, enhanced, and completed through a variety of course offerings, all designed to create a customized degree program that will reward you with both personal growth and professional opportunities.

 

Photo by Yan Krukau: https://www.pexels.com/photo/students-in-a-library-looking-at-a-tablet-screen-8199599/

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