There are many questions on your mind. One thing is clear: a double major requires hard work and extra classes. However, it’s also very useful. If you major in two related fields of study, such as chemistry and biology, it will be easier for you to get into a postgraduate program in any of these niches.
Let’s set some dilemmas straight, shall we? By the end of this article, you’ll be closer to your decision.
Double Major: Things to Consider Before You Opt for It
Before we get any further, let’s clarify what a double major is. When you’re going for a double major, it means you’re completing the requirements for two undergraduate degrees over the same period of time. You won’t get two bachelor’s degrees; you’ll get one degree that lists two majors.
Each university has its own double major programs. The College of Letters & Science at Berkeley, for example, offers programs of two majors within that college, as well as simultaneous degree programs with one major in Letters & Science and another one from a different school or college at Berkeley. With a simultaneous degree program, the student gets one transcript, but two separate diplomas.
The main question is: why should you consider a double major? If you’re interested in humanities, you know you have low chances of landing a high-paying job right after graduation. STEM graduates, on the other hand, are taking higher-paying jobs. Still, humanities degrees remain popular among students. A double major is a great way to combine their popularity with the employment benefits a STEM discipline gives you.
Before you make the final decision, you need to consider a few things about getting into a double major program.
- It Might Get More Expensive
You’ll be taking extra classes and getting books that will impose additional expenses. You’ll probably stay a bit longer at college, too. More time at college means more money spent.
Ultimately, you come down to a single question: is this an investment worth making? If you’re combining something you love with a major that gives you better opportunities for employment, then yes, you should go for it.
- You Might Not Graduate on Time
If you take two related majors (such as economics and statistics), many of the mandatory courses will overlap. However, you’ll have to meet major core requirements for two disciplines. In most cases, this means not graduating in 4 years.
If you opt for a double major and you set a goal to graduate on time, you need to stay as focused as possible.
- You’ll Need Impressive Time Management Skills
A double major means more studying, more important academic projects, and fewer parties. Are you willing to make that sacrifice?
There are tools that can help you improve your time-management skills: Google Calendar for planning your time, EssayOnTime for overcoming academic writing obstacles, and Strict Workflow for resisting to online distractions during studying sessions.
- Is It Important for Your Future?
If you plan to work as a lawyer, your future employer might value an additional major in economics or social sciences. If, however, you’re taking a double major without any vision of your future, you’re wasting your time and money. For example, a recruiter for a bank won’t be impressed in your double major in literature.
Think: Will this effort make you a more prospective job candidate? How would a potential employer view your degree? Your decisions should always be driven by the big picture.
- This Road Might Get Bumpy
Only 58% of students who enroll in BA degree programs at 4-year institutions graduate within 6 years. Double majors are one of the reasons why they get off track. Think about it: when you split your time and energy on two goals, you might get burned.
Start with a single major. Focus on it. If you feel like you have the capacity to go for another one at the same time, do it!
- A Double Major Means More Stress
More grades to care about, more tests to take, more academic projects to complete…
Make that commitment only if you’re ready for it. Make sure to have some activity that makes you relax. It may be journaling, yoga, running across campus, reading, or whatever else that makes you happy. Find your balance!
- What Does Your College Advisor Say?
The college advisor’s job is to help you get answers. Whenever you have doubts, that’s who you should discuss them with.
Before you make the decision, make sure to get the information and tips you need from your advisor.
- What Do Other Students Say?
Ask around and you’ll find students who are facing this challenge. See how they are doing. Are they managing to meet their own expectations?
When you get tips from someone who is going through this experience, you’ll realize if you’re ready to make the same commitment.
- Are You Really Interested in Both Disciplines?
Let’s say you already decided you’ll take economics as your major, but you’re also considering political science just because you loved a course you took. Will you be able to maintain the interest for both disciplines throughout your studies? Are you sure this is not momentary enthusiasm that will go away?
Before you choose a double major, do some research to see if you’re really interested in what it has to offer.
- Can You Make Every Class Count?
When you’re in a double major program, there will be zero space for relaxing courses that everyone takes just because they offer easy credit.
Your studies will be more difficult. If you’re willing to make that commitment, you should go for it.
This is the route of hard work. It’s meant for exceptional students who have the capacity to meet above-average requirements during college. It definitely has great advantages to offer. Are you ready to test your limits?
Sophia Anderson is an associate educator, blogger and freelance writer. She is passionate about covering topics on learning, writing, business, careers, self-improvement, motivation and others. She believes in the driving force of positive attitude and constant development. Talk to her on Facebook or LinkedIn.