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How To Incorporate a College Major Into Your College Selection

A variety of factors should go into your college selection, but few are more important than those related to a possible college major. Exploring a major requires research which goes beyond a standard college web-site, but the rewards of doing so will extend to your college experience and your subsequent ability to find a good job or a strong graduate program. Passion for a field bolstered by good grades and test scores in it should play major roles in your selection of a possible major. It’s also necessary to identify whether the career path produced by the major leads to jobs in the emerging national and international economy. Internet research and questions posed to family friends, and professionals in your community can assist in that process. You’re ready to find suitable colleges. What factors should you take into account?

1. Student Selectivity: US News and World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” issue provides figures on student selectivity for the institution as a whole. You may have to directly contact the department or honors program you are interested in to get additional data on your major.

2. Class Size: Your academic experience will be enhanced if you have small enough classes to receive significant feedback from your professor. Contact departments in which you are interested to get information on the size of introductory and upper level classes.

3. Quality of Faculty: The annual US News “Best Colleges” issue includes information on the resources available to faculty for teaching and research at the institution. You can also find information on the national ranking of a department on-line. Call individual departments to clarify whether you will taught by full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty, a pre-condition for a quality academic experience.

4. Placement in Strong Professional/Graduate Programs and Good Jobs: Undergraduate schools, unlike some professional graduate programs, are not required to provide this information. Nonetheless, any school worth it’s salt should have data in this area. If it does not, it’s time to head to your next institution.

Finding the right academic match requires initiative and a willingness to gather data not readily available on many college web-sites. While location, climate, and other factors often play a role in college selection, always keep your eyes on the prize. You’re going to school to pick up academic and life skills which will maximize the probability that you will find a strong graduate program and a good job! It will take a willingness on your part to ask the tough questions!

David Dickson is an admissions expert and admissions counselor for Top Test Prep; Top Test Prep provides college admissions counseling and private tutoring to help students gain admission to top private schools, colleges and grad schools. Call (800) 501-7737 to learn more.

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