1. People & Relationships

Should I Double Major?

Having a Double Major Has Significant Benefits - and Challenges

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The idea of having a double major is very appealing; you graduate with two degrees and a larger breadth and depth of knowledge than if you had focused on only one area. And yet not many students are able to complete a double major during their time in college. What are the pros? What are the cons? And which is right for you?

Before you decide on double majoring or not, consider the following and how it applies to your own, personal situation:

Think of the reasons why. Why do you want a second major? Is it for your career? A passion you have for another subject? To please your parents? To make yourself more marketable after graduation? Make a list of all the reasons why you think you should go for it.

Think of the reasons why not. What will you have to do, change, or pay for if you double major? What will you have to sacrifice? What are the reasons why you wouldn't get a double major? What hardships would you encounter? What are you worried about?

Talk to your adviser. Once you've made your why/why not list, talk to your faculty adviser. If you plan on double majoring, he or she has to sign off on your plan anyway, so getting the conversation going early is a smart idea. Your adviser may also have advice about the pros and cons of double majoring at your school that you hadn't considered yet.

Talk to other students who are double majors. In particular, try to talk to students who are majoring in the fields you're interested in. What has their experience been like? What are the course requirements in their senior year? How heavy is the workload? Is double majoring worth it? Manageable? A great decision? A big mistake?

Consider the financial implications. Getting two degrees in the time it takes to get one may sound like a great idea. But will you have to take an extra-heavy courseload? Will you need to take additional courses online? Over the summer? At a community college? And if so, how much will those courses (and their books) cost?

Consider the personal implications. Is your first major in a program that is notoriously difficult? Will you have time to relax and enjoy the other aspects of college if you decide to double up? What things will you have to sacrifice (if anything) as you get nearer to graduation? What will your experience be like? And which will you regret more: looking back in 10 years and not having gone for both, or looking back and seeing all you may have missed out on by double majoring?

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