Congrats! If you’re reading this, it means you’re probably thinking about classes to take in college already, so you’ve likely been recently admitted or started school. Or if you’re still considering possible universities or colleges to attend, hopefully this can help you think about possible programs, majors, and more that they offer that align with your career interests and the rapidly evolving world around us.
For many students, college is the first step towards “the future” or what others may call “the real world.” But thinking about what classes to take that can hopefully lead to a rewarding and meaningful career can be a LOT to think about.
In the hopes it helps you figure out what majors could be right for you, we’ve put together some of the themes we’ve seen in our research, heard first-hand from many of our great advisors, and more broadly can assume based on what’s happening around the world.
Two important pieces of context to set
First, if you’re a high school student reading this and can’t yet imagine “what you want to do when you grow up,” you’re not alone and there’s no reason to panic! According to the National Center for Education Statistics, almost 80 percent of all college students in the United States change their major at least once. On average, they change their major three times before graduation. And in recent study done by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, they found that only 62% of adults in the United States were working in the field they had a degree in.
Second, you’re probably part of Generation Z (“Gen Z”), which means you’re likely pretty hip to technology, creative and like to think about new ways of doing things, open-minded and inclusive, and probably annoyed that someone like me is “talking to” you about a college major to pursue. Or, your parents may be sharing this with you in the hopes it motivates you to think about potential majors that can set you up for a great career later on. (P.S. I get what you’re going through – I’m a Millennial writing to you.)
But what I can share is that exploring and prioritizing classes that can ultimately help you think about a major you want to pursue is important to take seriously. For many of us, college is an incredible four years to help set us up for the “real world” that happens after, and I hope you get the most out of your college experience.
While the exact major you choose may not correlate 100% to what functional job you do later on – after all, so many jobs exist today that did not exist just two or five years ago – we’re hopeful this list can help inspire you. And hopefully this will help inspire colleges and education institutions to continue investing in innovation in programs and majors like these.
The big reveal…what are the most popular majors we’re seeing?
Business administration & management. Given many of you have seen times of economic booms and declines, pursuing degrees in business continues to be a stable and great path to look into. So many majors can fit in to this from economics to finance or marketing to management, and we’ll always need business people to help lead companies big and small, or start their own.
Engineering & computer science. The phrase “the only constant is change” couldn’t apply more than it does to all the incredible technological innovation happening. If you’re looking to be at the center of this, pursuing careers with more technical degrees is a great idea. Plus, so much of the technological advancements happening are meant to help create opportunities or enhance health outcomes ultimately for populations around the world.
Nursing. Speaking of health, considering a career in nursing is top of mind. Over the past decades, populations have been having children at a slower rate, which leads to us having more of an aging population around the world. Nurses are critical to enhancing longer term health outcomes and are often the first responders when we need help.
Environmental science. There’s more opportunity today than ever before to help companies and governments meaningfully lead the way when it comes to conservation efforts, sustainability, and social responsibility. Pursuing a career that can help make a positive impact on the world and now also bring in a great future income is more and more possible when studying environmental science.
Sociology. Sociology is the study of society and social change, and when you think about the conversations that are top of mind today, this is a fascinating major to pursue. Especially if you may want to consider a career in law, politics, or philanthropy, understanding the trends of humanity over time and applying your major to today’s real problems could be a great path.
Education. So much of the rapid innovation we’re seeing around us has been applying to business, technology, and medicine, but we actually need new and more innovative thinkers in the education space. You’re on the front lines of inspiring the next generations or re-thinking the coursework needed today to help prepare people for the future.
And, there’s the opportunity to build your own major!
As you already know, you’re part of the generation that’s looking to innovate and consider new ways of doing things. In the spirit that there are so many jobs today that exist that didn’t years ago, this should be encouraging to those who may want to combine multiple classes or disciplines together to build their own major.
At CollegeAdvisor.com, we’re here to help you along the way from college applications to admittance to navigating your college experience. Our mentors are happy to learn more about your interests and talk through potential majors and careers that can motivate you any time – or even share their own experiences along the way to help you think about new possibilities.
This article on popular college majors was written by advisor Zoe Edington, UC Berkeley ’18. If you want to work one-on-one with Zoe or other CollegeAdvisor.com Admissions Experts, register with CollegeAdvisor.com today.