As a freshman, I went throught something this year that I think every high school student should know about while they consider a college or university and decide on a major.
I’m currently playing soccer for West Virginia Tech but I am a Canadian citizen. I originally wanted to take Criminal Justice and become a police officer when I got back to Canada.
However after my first semester and 16 credit hours’ worth of classes I realized I was not actually as interested in Criminal Justice as I thought was. Maybe it was all those episodes of The Wire. Whatever the reason, it became clear as the year went on that being a police officer actually wasn’t the right occupation for me.
The reality is that the average college or university student changes their major 2 to 3 times throughout their time at school. So for all of you high school athletes and parents, here are three things to keep in mind as you consider a major and a school, especially in another country.
1. Will the major get you to where you want to be?
As I mentioned, I thought I wanted to be a police officer so I decided on criminal justice. After graduation, the plan is to return to Canada and start a career in my hometown of London, Ontario. Here’s the problem. I found out near the end of my semester that when I return to Canada my major would not be honored due to the differences between the US and Canadian government and legal systems. If I would have continued for 4 years, unaware of this fact, I would have come out with only a minor in psychology (which was recommended to accompany Criminal Justice) and no major at all. Be aware of all of the requirements for your career and make sure your major includes as many of those requirements as possible.
2. What are some minor (or major details) you want your school to have?
When I first started to think about which school I wanted to go to, there were several features I had in mind. I was actually not looking at the athletics first. Yes, it was a factor for me but the education was the first priority.
My mother always said to me growing up “Soccer will help get you an education but focus on your education first. If you ever get injured and cannot play you will always have your education to fall back on.” Look at the different aspects of the schools you’re considering and see if they match up with the career you wish to have when you finish your education. Big school or small campus? Warm weather or cold? Lecture hall or intimate classroom setting?
I went with a small school because I love being in a class where you can get one-on-one attention from a teacher who actually knows your name, rather than just being another student ID number. Location was another big thing. Do you care how far away you are from home? I am about an eleven hour drive from home so I fly home for every holiday. That is an added expense you really need to consider.
3. What do you LOVE to do?
When I realized that criminal justice was not for me I decided on a physical education major with a sports management minor. Even though I am not one hundred percent sure of the job I wish to have in the future I know FOR A FACT that I want to work within sports.
So what do you love? Do you love how organisms works (biology), or how people have lived (history)? Do you love to read or write (english)? Think of it this way, if you are going to be in a career for the rest of your life, you might as well be doing something you love to do. I know for myself, if I am going to get up at six or seven in the morning I had better be getting up for something I really like to do. Choose what you love and what makes you happy!
Hopefully my experiences this year will help you with the process of choosing a school or major. Feel free to pass on this information along to anybody who may be going through this stage right now.