What Are The Worst Reasons To Choose A Degree Subject?

by Alex Feldman

November 29, 2021

The 21st century world is a remarkable place in many ways, and there are so many more opportunities than there ever have before. If you want to attend college, there are many ways this can be done, from going to a physical school full-time to working remotely on an online course in a part-time capacity, and much more. 

There are also many more courses than have ever been available in a plethora of subjects. This is where things can get hard for those who want to gain a degree. They might know they want to study something, but they just don’t know what. Unless you have a very specific career in mind that requires one particular degree qualification, you might find there are several options open to you. If you have no idea at all about what you want to do, there is even more choice. 

It’s hard to choose a degree in some cases, but it’s important to pick the right one. Here are some of the worst reasons to choose a degree so you can think of different ways to choose the best option for you to continue your education and start your career. 

You Saw It On TV

The power of TV can be seen as both positive and negative. There are many educational shows on TV that will give you a great insight into how the world works, but equally, it is there for entertainment, and some shows are not as true to life. This is not an issue in most ways; they are there to be enjoyed, not to be a roadmap for life. However, this can lead to confusion. It might be that you have a favorite show, for example, and one of the characters does a particular job. You might then develop an interest in doing that job yourself. 

This is not a bad thing in itself – it can be the start of your research, pointing you in one direction or another so you can look at the idea more deeply. However, this is the important thing; you must do more research. As we’ve said, TV shows are fiction, and even the ones that are true to life will have some artistic license included. So what you see depicted may not be the reality. If you choose a career – and therefore a degree subject – based solely on a TV show, you could be very disappointed. 

Because Your Parent Want You To

It’s hard to choose the right college, let alone the right degree subject. It’s even harder when your parents – or another loved one such as a spouse or partner if you are older and going to college later in life – have their own opinions on what you should do. Of course, discussing your ideas with loved ones is a good thing; you’ll get a variety of different opinions from perspectives you might not have considered before. However, when it goes further, and someone is choosing your degree subject for you, this is certainly a negative thing. 

You need to work out for yourself which degree is going to help you the most. If you don’t know what you want to do for a living, you can pick a more general subject or one that will give you a lot of choices once you finish your studies. If you do know what you want to do, then find a degree that links to the career you want. If you want to look for social work jobs, for example, then a degree in social work or human services would be ideal. 

Don’t let someone else derail your plans. Parents will often have an idea of what they would like their children to do, but most will accept that, although they can voice their opinions, the final choice is not theirs to make. Some will be more forceful, but remember that choosing a degree subject because it’s what someone else wants is never going to work out well unless it’s what you want to. You’ll find that you dislike the work, aren’t motivated to do it, and don’t get a great grade at the end. Plus, you’ll have a degree that won’t get you a job you’ll like either. Life is too short not to do things you enjoy. 

Because Of Income 

It’s important to know what your potential future income will be, as it will allow you to make plans. Therefore, it’s a good idea to research what the salaries are of the career ideas you are interested in. However, choosing a degree because of the potential future income of the job it will lead to is not a good way to go about things. Salary is part of your planning, and it should be the ultimate way of making any kind of choice, whether it’s a large income or a smaller one. 

Of course, everyone needs a salary that is going to cover their expenses in life and allow them to have fun too, but this is often less to do with what you earn and more to do with how well you manage that money. You can live a very full and enjoyable life without any money worries on a smaller salary if you organize things well. 

In other words, don’t let the potential future income determine your degree choice unless it also happens to be a degree – and career – you know you’ll enjoy. If not, then it’s far better to use other criteria to choose, such as your skills and favorite subjects, and then ensure you budget correctly once you start to work. 

Because Your Friend Chose It 

You and your friends will likely have a lot in common; that’s why you’re friends, after all. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll want to work in the same career area, and it doesn’t mean you’re good at – or enjoy – the same academic subjects. This is why it’s not a good idea to choose the same degree as your friend. 

In many cases, friends decide to attend the same university, and as long as there are degrees that you both want to do, then that’s not a terrible idea. You’ll know someone and therefore probably be more confident when you arrive. However, it’s crucial that you are choosing the right school for you. If your friend wants to attend one college and you feel that another offers you much more in terms of your future, that’s the one you should go to. You need to think of yourself. You don’t want to resent your friendship because it made you change your plans or prevented you from doing something you really wanted to do. Be honest with yourself and your friend and choose based on what you want, not something you have to settle for.