So you have chosen a school (college or technical) but what should you study?
I have compiled a list of things to keep in mind when choosing an academic subject.
Level of Interest: Do you like the topic? You are more likely to be successful if you like your big one. If it drills you, you will probably be unmotivated and may suffer academically.
Do you have a natural talent / skill? Do not discount any natural talents or skills, instead let these skills lead you to success.
Possible Careers? What kind of job will your degree prepare for? Do you need additional schooling to achieve your career goals? Does your major focus on a particular trade (for example, engineering work or accounting) or can you apply it in many careers (majors like English, history, psychology that teaches negotiable non-trade-specific skills such as reasoning, critical thinking, writing and communication )?
What are the requirements? What courses and how many will you need to take in both major and complementary courses outside of your major subject (ie, applying for graduates in marketing, economics and nutrition, as well as specific accounting courses). Does the program require at least GPA for recording and storage? Do you need a minor? Are you required to complete a internship or a co-op program?
Conditions. Are there any specific courses you need to complete before participating in larger specific courses? (Prerequisites are often introductory courses at the lower level that create a basic set of skills that will be referred to and built in subsequent classes.) For example, if you want a majority in psychology you would probably need to take a course introducing theories, models and major researchers in the area.
Evaluate the instructors. How qualified are the teachers? Where did they go to school, what degrees do they hold, where have they previously worked or learned and what have they published? Find out about the reputation of other students as well. Is a particular professor ignorant of being stiff or difficult? A good relationship with an instructor can benefit you when you start applying for studying schools or jobs and you need recommendations.
Program Reputation. Does the program receive national attention? What do academics think of the program? What kind of job do the alumni hold?
Are you considering a double major? A double major can be a big company. This can be fruitful, but you must be more organized when planning class plans and picking courses. Some majors will not allow you to attend a second major (often called major majors.) Be informed and be prepared to work!
Check out questionnaires and introductory courses in different programs. These courses will be more general and give you a better understanding of what to expect from the program as a whole. Remember, you probably will not enjoy any single class or subject in your major subject. I had a friend who loved cost accounting but hated her tax-regulating school.
Browse the course catalog. Familiarize yourself with the policies and requirements. Read the schools manual on the differences in the requirements for an associated degree, a bachelors degree, a bachelors degree, a bachelors degree in art, etc. These will each require a different set of courses. Also check the schools general education requirements. These are often a basic core of courses each student has to take to get his degree. Check overlaps and conflicts with your major. Some departments do not provide credit for certain courses in a major that are used for general education requirements.
Use your advisor. These people feel the ropes. They are there to help you navigate the system. If all this is overwhelming (and do not feel bad if it is) relax! If you have a counselor who just does not help you, see if your school has a set of general advisors set up for undefined students. These advisors often have access to information about general subjects (deadlines, routines) and tools to help you find information about specific graduate programs. If you already have a big but are dissatisfied with your advisor, consider asking for a relocation. This can often happen in the department.
Talk to other students. They can often provide insight and experience that will be useful. An upperclassman can be your best friend when it comes to calculating the system. Not only do they know the best places to eat, but they may know the best places to buy and sell books, the best advisers and the best teachers.
Do not be afraid to change you. In the long run, its better to spend an extra year or two in college than to be miserable or regret your decisions. People change their majors all the time (I swapped my three times.) And while its a big decision, its just a part of the bigger refurbishment.