With so many college majors to choose from—everything from engineering to education to art—picking what you study may feel like the hardest choice of your life. After all, the decision impacts your future: what kind of job you might have, whether you need to go to graduate school, how much you can expect to earn after you graduate, and more. But to make the decision a bit easier, here are some tips that show you how to choose a college major:
The beauty of not knowing what your major should be is that you can sample everything: music, history, math, English, whatever. In fact, that’s what college is all about, isn’t it? Discovering who you are and what you like. So try a bunch of different classes, especially as a freshman. The only rule here: be open to new things.
2. Seek advice
Before you rush into making a choice, talk to your academic advisor, other professors, career services if your school offers it, your parents, and peers. Take their suggestions into account and make a mental chart of the pros and cons of each major you’re interested in.
3. Choose what you’re passionate about
If you still can’t make a decision, think about what you love. Do you spend a lot of time listening to or playing music? Is your nose always in a book? Get a thrill out of crunching numbers? Trust your gut, follow your passion, and you won’t make the wrong choice.
4. Consider your skills
In college you may discover that your skills overlap with your academic interests, so start by taking stock of your talents. Are you a naturally gifted writer? Do you like to build things in your spare time? Do you draw for fun? Are you good at puzzles? Every talent has an applicable field of study—all you have to do is figure out what it is.
5. Think about what you want to do after you graduate
Let’s face it: college is supposed to prepare you for a job. That means your field of study will influence where you work and what you do. So it pays to think ahead. What kind of work might you be interested in down the line? Write all your ideas down. Then do a little research. What are the educational requirements for each job and what majors best fulfill them? Now match your skills and passions to that list.
Going to college is an inevitable time of transition in which you leave home, branch out, and get educated. But college can be a tricky place to navigate. You’ve got to balance your social life with your work life with your study life while also trying to figure out who you are and what interests you. But these survival tips can make that process easier.
Here are 7 college survival tips you should know:
1. Get to know your professors
While you probably won’t make friends with your professors, or hang out with them on weekends, it certainly pays to invest time in being an active participant in class, visiting them during office hours, and communicating with them via email. Not only will it boost your grade, but the strong ties you forge will be useful down the line, especially when it comes time to ask for a recommendation.
2. Read and follow the syllabus
Remember that thing college professors give you at the beginning of term? Don’t lose it. You’ll save yourself tons of headaches. Your syllabus contains all the vital information you need to pass a class: how to complete assignments and when they’re due, late work policies, contact information, and more.
3. Check your school email address regularly
Your professors and your major department will use your school email address to contact you about everything from department events to class cancellations to scholarship opportunities, and more. Try to sync the email address to your phone so you immediately receive any information you need to know.
4. Explore your eating options on and off campus
Nothing’s worse than eating at a dining hall day in, day out. Take the time and see what else is out there. Start on campus, then work into the surrounding neighborhoods. Flash your student ID and you may even be able to score discounts on good eats.
5. Make friends
College is easier with friends at your back, so get involved in class, chat with neighbors or hall-mates, or befriend your roommate. Also join extracurricular activities. Clubs and intramural sports are a great and easy way to build a community.
6. Don’t party too much
Remember, you’re paying for college. Don’t waste the opportunity by sleeping in and missing class.
7. Don’t make studying your only priority
College is about more than just getting a degree. It’s about making lifelong friends, about traveling, about trying new things. Make time to embrace the experience.
Summer internships are a fantastic opportunity for college students. They allow you to get your foot in the door at a company and give you first-hand experience in the working world. Remember, however, that you only have 2-3 months to deliver and gain value from your work experience—so make the most of your summer internship! Here’s how:
1. Be on time.
Although it seems self-explanatory, sleeping in during the summertime can be incredibly enticing. Fight the urge and show up to your internship on time. You’ll make a better impression and get the most out of every day.
2. Always be ready to learn.
As an intern, you’re not expected to know everything. You are, however, expected to be open to learning all that you can. Being flexible and expressing interest will help you tremendously.
3. Maintain a positive attitude.
It’s important to remain positive as an intern, even if some of your time is spent completing pesky or tedious tasks. Proving you’re enthusiastic and hard working will lead to more significant responsibilities over time.
4. Volunteer yourself.
If you ever find yourself bored and without work, offer your services to your supervisor/boss. Come to them with well-thought out ideas and prove yourself as an independent thinker and worker.
5. Keep a journal/work notebook.
Taking notes is the key to success in any internship. Not only will this help you keep organized, it gives you something to look back on when updating your resume!
Remember that every person in your office and every professional connection you make can be useful to you in the future. Introduce yourself and have conversations. The more of a mark you make, the more they’ll think about you during hiring season. Not to mention these people will most likely be your references when applying for jobs in the future.
Summer break is finally here, but that doesn’t mean you should spend all your time relaxing. Not when there’s money to make! After all, the more money you earn this summer, the less you have to borrow when next semester’s tuition bill arrives. So work hard, save plenty, and get creative. Here are a few ideas on how to earn more money this summer:
1. Sell used textbooks.
Got textbooks from last semester? Or even last year? Sell them with ValoreBooks, our sister-company, for cash! We have the highest sellback prices in the industry. Plus shipping is free and price quotes are instant. See how much your textbooks are worth.
2. Sell used CDs, DVDs, and more.
You can also sell used iPhones, iPads, video games, DVDs, and CDs using ValoreBooks — so clean out that entertainment center and turn your old stuff into cash. Shipping is still free and price quotes are still instant! Sell your stuff for cash!
3. Get a summer job.
This one seems obvious, but it’s surprising how many college students don’t work during the summer. Score even a part-time gig at a restaurant, park, summer camp, movie theater, resort, etc. But don’t wait to apply! Summer jobs are often in high demand, so apply ASAP.
4. Create your own job.
Can’t find a job? Make one! Offer your services as a babysitter, house sitter, pet sitter, lawnmower, or landscaper. Got other talents? Use them to make money. For leads on potential clients: check with your parents’ friends and coworkers.
5. Spend less.
Okay, “spending less” and “earning more” aren’t exactly the same thing, but both result in more money. Thankfully spending less is pretty easy, especially in the summer. Most towns and cities have free events and concerts. Plus the weather is getting better every day, so go enjoy the wild (and free!) outdoors. Skip restaurants, theme parks, and expensive vacations. Make your own fun!
Some advice from Yoda:
The best part about spring is the promise of better weather. The worst part is that springtime means spring-cleaning. But take solace in knowing that this year your efforts to get organized can make you money. Here’s how:
1. Organize your bookshelf
Go through all the books you own, setting aside anything you haven’t read, won’t read, and don’t want. Purge the wasted space from your bookshelf and all that dust! Then collect the used books and sell them with our sister-brand, ValoreBooks. We’ll take textbooks, novels, biographies—basically anything and everything you’ve got. Shipping is free and price quotes are instant.
2. Clean out your closet.
Just think of all the stuff that’s gathered over winter. Get in, tidy up, and uncover any old movies, CDs, or video games you don’t use anymore. Then get rid of them by selling them with ValoreBooks! See how much your used stuff is worth instantly.
3. Say goodbye to old electronics.
If you upgraded your iPhone or iPad over winter and have an old model lying around, say adiós to the dead weight and sell it to us. As always, shipping is free, price quotes are instant, and you get paid fast. Happy spring-cleaning!