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Oct 03 2017
by Madeleine Smith

5 Important Things to Consider Before Deciding to Double Major

By Madeleine Smith - Oct 03 2017
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If you are an ambitious student with many different interests, then double majoring is probably something you are considering. However, it's not a decision you should rush into because there's a whole list of things to consider before you declare two majors, and all of them should be considered carefully so that you don't overwhelm yourself or end up in school for more than four years. Here are five things you need to think about before double majoring.

1. Consider credit-intensive courses.

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Every major has a certain number of credits that you need to complete in order to finish the major and graduate. Not every major is the same, though. Oftentimes, majors in the humanities have fewer necessary credits than science and math majors. Majors in engineering, biology and chemistry, for example, are credit-intensive courses. You need to consider the intensity of credits because two credit-intensive majors will be extremely difficult to complete in four years, while two non-credit-intensive majors or even a credit-intensive major and a non-credit-intensive major might be more manageable.

2. Develop a four year plan. 

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Before double majoring, you should write down all the requirements, or even make and Excel spreadsheet of all the requirements and courses you will have to take for both majors along with your electives. Basically, make yourself a four year plan just to ensure you will get it all done in that time. If it doesn't fit, then you need to consider taking summer classes, winter classes or downgrading one to a minor (unless you are okay with taking a fifth year of school).

3. Develop good study habits.

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Another thing you need to consider is your own study habits. Double majoring is a lot of work no matter what subjects they are, and that means you are going to need to study hard and study often. For some people, that is not a problem. Others have questionable time management or just aren't willing to put in the effort. You need to know yourself and be honest with yourself when it comes to making the decision if double majoring is right for you. If you want to try and change your ways, then by all means go for it, but don't let yourself get behind or get too overwhelmed.

4. Think about your social life.

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As I already stated, double majoring requires a lot of time and effort. You may have top notch study skills, however, that doesn't mean you want to be studying 24/7. Yes, school comes first when it comes to college, but you also want to be able to enjoy yourself. Having a social life and getting out of the library ensures you won't get burned out or start hating school. Make sure that you will still be able to hang out with your friends on occasion before deciding to take on a double major.

5. Remember the benefits.

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Lastly, you need to seriously consider whether majoring in both fields is going to benefit you in the long run when it comes to employment, or if a minor will suffice. Is a more intensive study really going to benefit you in the future, or are you just doing it because you can? If it's worth it in your opinion, then go for it, but make sure to at least ask yourself what you are going to get out of it.

Remember you can always change your major or downgrade to a minor if you want to, especially in your freshman year. Still, it is important to fully think and plan out your college decisions. Even as you consider a double major or a minor, you should take the time to consider these things. 

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Madeleine Smith - Rutgers University - New Brunswick

Madeleine Smith is a freshman in the Honor's College at Rutgers University- New Brunswick. She's double majoring in journalism and political science and in her free time she loves playing soccer, journaling, reading, and hanging out with friends!

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