If you’re unable to make up your mind between two potential college majors, a double major may be just what you need. College students that declare a double major concentrate on two separate majors during their undergraduate years, meaning that they will earn a bachelor’s degree with two majors at graduation. A double major sounds impressive, but just like anything else in life, it has its pros and cons. How can you be sure if a double major is right for you?
There are quite a few benefits to earning a double major.
Should you have strong interests in many different areas (and a lot of students do!) a double major will allow you to complete the requirements of two majors at the same time. Each college or university has their own requirements regarding double majors, so you’ll need to check with your school to find out all of the pertinent information.
Some schools have restrictions in place to limit the subjects that students can double major with, but others offer a wide variety of options. This means that you may be able to study two completely different fields such as art and biology, or two closely related fields such as marketing and communications.
If you start college with a double major, you might wind up realizing that you don’t care for one of them as much as you initially thought you did. Should you change your mind and decide to drop one of your majors, you won’t be at a total loss because you were also taking courses toward the other major. Plenty of students wind up changing their majors during college, but if you had two to begin with, you won’t have to “play catch-up” the way a student with one major would need to do. Earning a degree with a double major can also expand your options should you consider furthering your education with graduate school.
A double major during college takes a lot of effort, but that hard work should hopefully pay off in the long run. Having a double major under your belt will show potential employers that you’re not afraid to work hard, and a double major also proves that you’re rather flexible. Your double major may aid you in your post-college job search because you’ll have a wider variety of career options than graduates who only concentrated on one subject area.
If you’re considering a double major, you need to figure out if the benefits outweigh the disadvantages for your personal situation.
If your school will allow you to have two unrelated majors, the classes for each will most likely not overlap (outside of your general education requirements, of course.) This means that you’re going to have to complete a lot of classes, and a lot of classes translates into a lot of work! You may have to attend summer school each year, or even take an extra year to graduate, which will raise your college tuition costs. You may wind up taking out additional student loans to cover these extra courses.
I can speak from experience that having two majors is a lot of work and costs a lot of money. I earned a Bachelor of Music, and my major was education. While this is not exactly the same thing as a double major, I had to take the courses required of all other music majors and the courses required to earn a subject-specific K-12 education degree. Even though I took 18 credit hours per semester and attended summer school the summer before my senior year, it took me four and a half years to graduate instead of the traditional four.
Students with double majors can wind up under a lot of stress, which may cause their grades to suffer. While it’s true that a double major looks impressive, a low GPA does not.
If you’re interested in a double major, you might learn quite a bit by discussing things with an upperclassman who is currently working through a double major at your school. They can offer their opinions and give you firsthand advice about what it’s really like! You may also want to visit your academic advisor or the department head(s) and see if a double major may be right for you.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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