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6 Reasons Not to Choose Your Degree Subject

Choosing your degree subject and your ideal program isn’t a walk in the park. There is a myriad of options, and everyone around you has an opinion on what you should choose. Many important factors can influence your final decision, but beware of what you take into consideration. Here are some not-so-good reasons to pick your major...

Sep 6, 2023
  • Student Tips
6 Reasons Not to Choose Your Degree Subject

Because you saw a cool TV show on it

Media plays a significant role in influencing all aspects of society nowadays, and it is no different when it comes to career paths. In a 2020 survey by ZenBusiness, 58% of the interviewed people said that their career choice was at least slightly inspired by a piece of media, TV being the most popular influencer. While TV is indeed full of inspiring stories, the work routine depicted on most shows is often more dramatized than realistic. So, while there is nothing wrong with being inspired by a TV hero to pursue a career, it’s vital to also look for real-life experiences of people in that career to know if your studies and work life in the field will be actually suitable for you.

Because your parents want you to

Deciding on what college to attend and what major to choose is always a big decision and one that usually impacts the whole family. Having your family support you on your dream path is lovely, but it isn’t always the case. These disagreements are common, and they happen because parents and children often have different priorities when it comes to choosing a major: the student usually wants to follow their dream career while parents are more worried about job and income stability. Having an open and honest conversation with your parents about what you want for your future is fundamental. When both parties listen to each other and understand how the other feels, it becomes easier to reach a compromise. And, in the end, your parents might end up being more supportive than you previously thought.

Because of income

Worrying about your future income is a big part of deciding on your career. Before deciding on your major, it’s a good idea to research possible jobs and starting salaries, always reaching out to professionals in the area to know more about their experience. But income alone shouldn’t be the reason you choose a major. While everyone needs a good job and salary to cover their living expenses, choosing a career simply because of its high-paying jobs can lead you to be wealthy, but unhappy. More often than not, a job that makes you happy and provides you with a comfortable income will bring you more satisfaction than a job you hate but pays very well.

Because your friend chose it

Saying goodbye to the routine of being with your friends every day is never easy. This is why it’s so common for friends to make plans to attend university together. And embarking on this new journey with your best friend by your side can be wonderful -- if you’re both happy with the university you chose, of course. It’s important to remember that, before being friends, you are individuals first, each with your own goals and dreams. Sacrificing your dream college for the sake of staying with your best friend will likely end up with you feeling frustrated, which can even affect your friendship. Your priority should be to choose what’s best for you, and know that true friendships survive the long-distance and grow with you as each of you grows into your own person. Also, you will in all likelihood both find great new friends (and possibly partners too) at university.

Because it is cheap

College is an investment, and in many cases, an expensive one. Affordability is a major factor to consider when deciding on which institution to attend, but it shouldn’t be the first priority. Many people don’t even look at more expensive colleges and end up missing great opportunities. Before taking a university out of your list, don’t forget to look at what kind of scholarships and financial aid resources are available to students -- the university might end up being more affordable than you previously thought. But, at the end of the day, there is no right or wrong answer. There is just deciding what’s the best fit for you -- there are benefits to choosing a cheap college just as there are to the expensive ones.

Because it’s prestigious

It’s easy to get caught up in the vision of attending a top-ranking university and all the benefits that come with it. But, ultimately, the level of impressiveness that comes with your degree shouldn’t be a deciding factor. Sure, graduating from an Ivy-league institution will open many doors in your future, but there are an array of other aspects to consider. Highly prestigious colleges demand a lot from their students, which can generate a level of pressure not everyone is comfortable with. If you want to make the right decision, it’s fundamental to know yourself deeply and evaluate what college is best suitable for you. Remember - there is no shame in attending a lesser-known university. You can receive an excellent education from a smaller institute and not have to sacrifice your personal time to keep up with your course requirements. As always, it all comes down to knowing the best path for you.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself

There is always a lot of pressure surrounding the process of choosing your major - after all, it’s a big career decision to be taken when you’re just reaching the end of your teenage years. While some people know what they want long before applying to college, others need a little more time to figure it out, and there is nothing wrong with that. Depending on what university you’re attending, you can start by taking general courses and wait a little longer to commit to a major. You can also switch majors down the line if you realize you’re not happy with your decision. You can even transfer schools and still keep the credits you’ve earned.

The point is, there are a lot of ways to proceed if you decide to change your study path, so don’t put so much pressure on yourself to get it right on the first try. If you do proper research into your options and make a fully informed decision, you’ve already done your part to decide what degree to choose.

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Thaís Roberto


Thaís graduated with a degree in Language and Literature and is now pursuing her master's while working as an English teacher and freelance writer. She lives in an inland city in São Paulo, Brazil, and enjoys binge-watching TV, game nights with her friends, and learning how to play any musical instrument within reach

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