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Confused about colleges?

Its that time of the year when many of you are appearing for entrance exams and probably deciding about the next institution you need to enroll yourself in order to achieve specific education that you’ve wished for. Choosing a college is one of the biggest business decisions of your life. You go to a college to learn useful skills and get a degree and both of these bring multiple opportunities for you in future.

Is there such a thing as the “right subject”?

For most people, the right subject means something in which they find constant inspiration and motivation. A good starting point to successfully complete a degree! One thing above all, however, is important to make it work: Be realistic.

Those who hope to feel fulfilled in their chosen subject at all times and to seamlessly transition into their preferred field of work straight graduating will be disappointed in the first semester at the latest. Every degree requires work, whether it speaks directly to your interests or not. If that wasn’t the case, then you would not be challenged and would not develop professionally or personally. So is there such a thing as the “right subject”? The clever answer: There is more than one!

When you’re choosing a college and a major…

1. It’s OK not to know what you want to be when you grow up.

Most 18-year-olds who say they do will probably change their mind multiple times as they learn more about themselves and the world. And that’s OK. There are plenty of 40-year-olds who will say they don’t know yet either.

But it is important to know at least a zone of interest or the general route you want to take. Find the major that keeps you in that lane and moving forward in the right direction. Keep refining and getting more specific as you learn more.

2. Beware of the passion major.

This is where I see the most disappointment. A college freshman picks a major that sounds interesting but has no viable path to any job they’d actually want to do.

College is the first steppingstone to your career. Don’t just pick a major that sounds interesting—consider your marketability. Choose a degree that will give you the opportunity to be hired to do the kind of work that’s on your wish list.

3. Pick a school that increases the chances of finding your first job.

What things should you look for? A great career placement center, a thriving alumnae network or professors who are personally involved in helping graduates. The reputation of your school and major matter, too.

When deciding between schools, think about which one will give you the greatest boost in finding your first job. You don’t want to fly solo when you start that all-important search because your college placement center doesn’t know much about your degree or can’t help in your desired city. Going at it alone makes it much harder. So consider this up front.

4. Don’t repeat Mom or Dad’s life.

So many parents expect their kids to choose the degree they chose or go to their alma mater, to follow in their footsteps.

But beware if you are choosing a path just because it’s expected, because your parents, or whoever, made their choice based on what was best for them at the time. You should do same—make the choice based on what’s best for you right now.

5. Women, don’t underestimate yourselves.

As Sheryl Sandberg shares in Lean In, women start to opt out of their potential early in their careers—even at the selection of their major. Why? Because it might not fit their lifestyle in the future.

It’s way too early to top off your potential. Pursue the degree and career that you are capable of and know that you’ll make adjustments when and if you need to in the future. Don’t sell yourself short over potential life balance concerns way in the future.