T Nation

How to Choose a College Major?


#1

I'm lost and confused on what major to choose. I am passionate about training/nutrition but also interested in economics and the way that the mind works (psychology). I am attending McGill university in Canada, and its specially known for its biology and medical majors. Medicine is helpful and all, but I don't see myself as a lab person/doctor.

Currently, I'm going to keep training as a hobby, and attend various seminars to gain more knowledge. As for psychology, I find it as a very intriguing subject (ex. Blink by Malcomm Gladwell). However a psychology degree doesn't seem practical at all. So right now, it's between nutrition and economics.

Advice?


#2

Doesn't McGill also have a pretty baller business program? I met a few McGill finance students when I did an exchange in Hong Kong, and they made it seem like their program was the shit.

Typically, regardless of your major, you're going to have to take certain courses that are required for all majors. I think that'd be a good time to figure out if you truly enjoy a subject or if your perception of the subject isn't what it really is.

In the end, you could always double major. I'm a finance major, but I wish I had also majored in psychology. Like you, I'm completely fascinated by how the mind works.


#3

What is it that you find yourself thinking about/doing all the time?

When you first wake up in the morning what is the one thing that makes moving on with your day worthwhile?

Which courses have you taken in the past that you've enjoyed? Not necessarily exceeded in, but the ones that interested you the most?

If you can come up with a solid answer for those questions, you should have a pretty good idea of what to study.


#4

Nothing says you can't get minors in the things you want. Choose something that you know you will like, and will give you a successful career as your main major, and leave the rest (such as psychology) as minors so you can still learn about them. If you feel up to it, you can also dual major.

I'm a biochemistry major, but I still really wanted to learn a lot more about math/physics. Minoring in math and physics gave me the chance to pick what exactly I wanted to learn in each of those fields without having to go through the whole major.

Hope that helps!


#5

From what I've heard, McGills business program is mediocre at best, but its honors econ program is outstanding. However, it has a more than 60% dropoff rate and it doesnt get the recognition it recieves. Not sure if I'm up to that challenge though. Its regular econ classes has almost no math, which makes it quite incomplete in my opinion. As a freshmen entering the nutrition program, I am REQUIRED to take bio/chem/psychics, which leaves me perhaps one or two electives. Since I'm on a seperate campus 30 minutes from the other one with psych/econ, it would be quite a hassle to take electives in that campus.


#6

Thank you! That was exactly what I was thinking... Time to transfer to econ and keep psych/nutrition as minors and training as a hobby.


#7

Concordia has a better economics/business program.
John Molson.

For engineering, go for Concordia or McGill.
Medicine and law go for McGill.
Business/economics go for Concordia.


#8

I'm a McGill business grad (and a finance major). As far as "which is better", it really depends on what you plan on using that degree for. Sure you may think that the business program is better at Concordia, but McGill is the better brand overall without a doubt. JMSB has a very strong name within Quebec, however now that I'm out in the real world and outside of Quebec, it's not spoken of in the same light as Ivey, Schulich and even McGill (Desautel). I'm heading to grad school in the US in September and I know that having McGill on my diploma meant more to them than Concordia would have. Regardless, this isn't a "which is the better biz school" debate.

OP: I'm assuming you're on the MacDonald campus and if so, you're right...it's very difficult to take electives on the main campus unless you are able to create your schedule in such a way that you're on Mac M/W/F and main T/Th. Trying to commute between the two on the same day would be a pain in the ass.

I agree with what some of the other posters have said but also, what could you see yourself doing in the future? Sure you're interested in pyschology, but at the end of the day, do you see yourself doing anything with that degree? If not, minor in it, do a concentration in it, or even just take some sporadic courses to get your fill. Do you see yourself (at least initially after graduation) entering into something that requires a nutrition background? If so, there's your answer. There's nothing wrong with taking a wide array of courses to complement your major or to balance you as a person regarding what you want to learn, however at the end of the day, you are spending 3 or 4 years at McGill to get something out of it (a job). What will get you there?


#9


Here's how to figure it out.


#10

Thank you for the advice court! I'm thinking about transferring to the downtown campus in pursue of the honours econ, hopefully some nootropics will help me get that done. As for a career, I really have no idea at the moment :S I see myself perhaps as a biotech investor? Perhaps even a health care center entrepreneur. Um if you would kind if enough what are some things that you've heard about the honours econ program?

Much appreciated.


#11

I've got an e-crush on Court ...


#12

College is a fantasy world. ( yes, I have multiple degrees)

As someone with kids, and a mortgage I recommend you look at the real world.
Look at what you are considering and find out the degree path (what is the terminal degree), comparative salaries and where you can actually go with it. Look at the area you are planning on living in relation to this data, because it can make a huge difference. Some careers make "enough" if you're single and young but have no room to grow and will not pay your bills as your responsibilities increase.

Your long term security and emotional stability are at stake.


#13

Sweetie, you know I love you too. Now get back to work so you can earn bigger bucks, we can get married, I can get my MBA and MRS at the same time, live happily ever after and we can practice making babies for the rest of our lives.


#14

Not only will you be my Sugartits, but my sugar mama as well ... ain't nothin' wrong wit' dat


#15

If you seriously think you will pursue a graduate program, then check with the graduate department in question and find who can advise you. Things are not always as one might think.

It is not unusual for graduate programs to have no requirement whatsoever that a person have the same undergraduate major.

It is also usual that there will be some list of courses that for admission purposes it will be very helpful for you to have taken, and which furthermore if you don't take as an undergraduate, you will have to consume time doing as a graduate student, the credits not contributing towards your graduate degree, whereas if you'd done them as an undergraduate they could have counted towards that degree.

Also check carefully what is required and what you will be doing in completing any undergraduate program that seems of possible interest.

For example, I chose microbiology as my undergraduate major because:

A) It was considered a desirable undergraduate degree for admission to medical school (which I then thought I would do

B) The required courses all sounded interesting and worthwhile

C) There were a ton of elective credits left over, something like 30 or more. Thus I had freedom to pick many other things that I found interesting and worthwhile.

In contrast, while I hadn't considered Exercise Science (though I did take courses in that as electives), that program had about three -- I am not kidding, three (3) -- credits left over for electives.

Lastly (or maybe I shouldn't put it last) a reality check on what the degree will do for income should be considered. This can be hard to really get a handle on. But for example will a Bachelor's in Exercise Science plus some outside respected training accreditation do better for you financially than a degree in some other thing and that same outside respected training accreditation?

I have absolutely no inside knowledge on it but I had thought that a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science really didn't do much for employment in most cases. A Master's can result in some interesting and rewarding placements though.


#16

I agree. From a US perspective, the only legitimate Canadian universities are Ivey and McGill (note: this is from a business/finance standpoint).


#17

Keep in mind that there are not many "good" psych jobs available unless you get doctored. With that, I think psych is very functional (which is why i'm in it) there is a certain "wow factor" that you can shoot at people ehn you break them down. That will definitely open door s for you. Understanding how the mind works and gauging reactions and knowing what people might do before they do is bad ass. I am going to to the higher degrees in my field though....maybe a doctorate in psych and occupational therapy

either way I really love the idea of training and being a psychologist.