As college students, picking a major will be one of the hardest and most critical decisions we ever have to make in life. It’s more than just some words that will embellish our diploma on graduation day – it’s the deciding factor in every class we take, what degree we receive, and possibly even the career we pursue after college.
As if picking one was hard enough, most colleges give students the option to double up on majors if they wish to do so. When double majoring, most students choose two subjects that will compliment each other-such as accounting and finance, business and marketing, journalism and communications or psychology and social work.
So should you double major? Is it really worth it in the end? Let’s look at some of the Pros and Cons of double majoring:
- You’re going to be paying tuition for four years anyways, so why not learn as much as you can while you’re there?
- You’ll have the flexibility to pursue a broader range of career opportunities after graduation.
- According to research findings in a study at Vanderbilt University, when students pursued two majors, they tended to be more creative and have better dynamic thinking skills than their peers who studied only one subject
- Graduating with a double major indicates to future employers that you have two areas of significant knowledge, and have completed coursework throughout your time in college that allowed you to go into depth into both subjects.
- As we said earlier, most double majors compliment each other- classes usually overlap between double majors, meaning fewer classes are required between the two so it’s easier to finish school within four years.
- When interviewing for a job, having an additional major on your resume may give you an extra edge when compared to someone who only has one.
- Most students who double major don’t graduate on time because they decide to add the additional major after they have already started college. The national four-year graduation rate average for public universities is already at a mere 28%, so adding the extra course load may not help you in increasing that percentage.
- Sometimes, less is more. According to Cal Newport, an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, “people are more impressed by your ability to be a star at one thing than they are by your ability to juggle lots of hard things.”
- Employers tend to prefer experience over major choice. In a survey conducted by The National Association of Colleges and Employers, 72.4% of responding organizations stated that they preferred candidates with experience (internships, leadership positions…) rather than candidates’ majors.
- Double majoring requires intense course planning to fulfill both majors’ requirements that can prevent you from taking more laid back and fun classes, like “The History of Beer” or a yoga class for credit.
- More classes = More stress? According to the Huffington Post, “A survey conducted last year by the American College Health Association reports that 39 percent of college students felt hopeless during the school year, 25 percent felt depressed, and 47 percent experienced overwhelming anxiety”.
- Pursuing a double major may cost more due to taking summer classes, or the cost of an additional semester (or two).
So… what does it all mean?
Basically, if you’re thinking about adding a major or starting college with a double major figure out if it’s right for you first. You have to weigh your finances, time, interests, patience and your willingness to commit to both majors when determining what makes the most sense.
Already pursuing a double major and killin’ it? Hell yeah! Keep up the hard work.
Pursuing a double major and (majorly) struggling? Weigh your options and see if it’s worth it.
Perfectly content with your one major? Well…Why try and fix what isn’t broken?
In the end, we’re all rockstars for attending college and pursuing our goals- period. Graduating with a diploma that you worked your ass off for will be totally worth it, whether you finished with one major or two. You learn a lot more along the way that you’d never find in any textbook, anyways.