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How Will I Know What Courses to Take at Community College? (page 2)

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on May 1, 2014

Deciding On a Major

You won't need to declare (choose) a major, the primary subject you have decided to study, the moment you are admitted, but it's good to start thinking about your major sooner rather than later if you want to earn your degree in a specific field.

For example, you may choose to major in English, computer science, or accounting. The majority of courses that you take will be in the field of study you choose. If you are undecided about a major, don't worry. You can follow a course of study in general studies and still get your associate's degree.

It's important to realize that choosing a major isn't always the same as choosing a career. If you study math as your major, it doesn't mean you have to be a mathematician when you graduate. Your major can be the broad base for a number of different career options. Majoring in math, for example, might prepare you for a variety of careers in science, business, insurance, or engineering.

It's also important to understand that once you've chosen a major, it doesn't mean you're stuck with it. You can change your mind if you think you've made a mistake, or find that the selection you've made won't lead you where you want to go.

Most students change their minds at least once about what they want to study. But you don't want to change majors too often, as it can cost you time and money to start over in a new area.

Once you do decide on a major, you'll want to examine the required coursework, be sure you understand what the pre-requisites are, and know the number of credits you must earn to complete the degree or certificate in that major. The sooner you choose a major, the more time you'll be able to spend taking courses that count toward your degree.

Academic advisors, professors, and career centers are are all resources that are available to help you choose a major.

These are courses that may complement your major or that you choose just because they interest you. For example, if you're majoring in English, you might choose an elective course in communications as a related field, or in accounting as an unrelated field.

Vocational/technical programs tend to have a more defined curriculum (course of study) and often do not offer as many opportunities for elective coursework as do liberal arts-based programs of study.

Transfer Considerations

If you think you'll want to transfer to a four-year institution, you'll want to select courses early on that will transfer smoothly to the institution you want to attend. You may even be in a special transfer studies program geared especially to this goal of helping you switch into a four-year institution and helping you prepare for a major there. Different four-year colleges have different requirements for transfer. See Chapter 10 for more information about transferring.

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