How to Choose the Right Degree Level and Program
Fri Nov 08 2013 05:11:25 GMT-0800 (PST)

Finding the right degree path is an important decision for any prospective or current college student. Some colleges may offer only a few specialized degree programs while other colleges offer hundreds of degree programs. Knowing what you want to major in before you apply to college can be extremely helpful in selecting a college that offers the type of degree you need and a competitive program. Below are a few tips to help you choose the right degree program.

Selecting a Degree Level

Before you start thinking about a degree program, decide what degree level you want to pursue. Are you going to pursue an Associate's degree, a Bachelor's degree, a Master's Degree, a technical certificate, etc.? There are many different types of degree available, and the first step to selecting the right degree level is to evaluate your current education level and academic credentials as well as the type of certification or degree you need to excel in your chosen career field. If you are unsure of which degree level you should pursue, contact an academic advisor at 1-800-863-3473 or email us at

Finding Your Degree Path

Choosing your degree program is very important to your academic career and to expanding the pool of jobs that you will be qualified for after graduation. While this decision will be one of the most important you will make while in college, try to relax and think about the areas that interest you most and that you would like to pursue after college. While you are considering your options, make sure to take into account what types of jobs will be available after you graduate to people with your chosen degree. Then take classes that will help you decide whether that degree program is the right one for you. You can always change your major and minor later if you find that another area sparks your interest more than your current degree program. (Most students do change their major at least once!)

Evaluating Your Strengths and Weaknesses

You may find when you begin taking classes that you have a particular proclivity for biology or that math is not your strongest subject. Take note of your academic strengths and weaknesses and select a degree program that allows you to utilize your talents while also igniting your passion for the field. It's important that you also feel a sense of excitement for the degree that you choose since you will be pursuing a career in this field after you graduate so make sure to take that into account when selecting your degree program.

Exploring Your Options

At this point, take some time to explore the degree programs available to you. Your academic advisors can provide a list of all of the degree programs available to you so that you can evaluate them one by one and decide which is the best fit for you. If you know what type of degree you want to pursue before you enroll, it may also be a good idea to talk with your admissions counselor about the degree program that they offer and ask if that particular program is strong or competitive as compared to the same degree program offered at other colleges and universities.

Taking the Next Step towards Your Educational Success

After you have narrowed down all of your options, go ahead and sign up for the major and minor that appeal to you the most. This will give you chance to review all of the requirements for your specific degree so that you can incorporate the necessary classes into your schedule and begin your journey towards earning your diploma. Some colleges will have very specific class requirements for each degree program so as soon as you are sure which degree you want to pursue, declare it with your college or university and take all the necessary steps to incorporate those requirements into your course load.

Test it

After you have declared your major and you are taking the required classes to earn your degree, you will be able to experiment with the different components of the degree to ensure that you have chosen the program that is best for you. If after you try it out for a semester, you feel that another area of focus would be better suited to you, talk to your academic counselor about changing your degree program so that you can get started on another path.

Enjoy Your College Experience

Choosing your degree program is an important decision for any college student, but make sure that you also take the time to enjoy your college experience whether that means joining organizations that interest you or participating in sports programs or becoming active in your campus's social scene. College is a wonderful experience for most students, so make the most of it while you can!

To find top universities that offer degree programs in your area of interest, fill out the form on this page!

TRUSTe online privacy certification
Your information will be kept strictly private as stated in our Privacy Policy
Step 1 of 3