Becoming a journalist can have many benefits. Jobs in this field can be quite well-paid and incredibly interesting. So, if you have a passion for writing, pursuing this career could be a good idea. But, before you can do this, you will first need to acquire the right education. Most journalist jobs (even entry-level ones) require at least a BA degree in a relevant area. It shouldn’t be a problem to get a degree. The only question is – what exactly should you study?
According to College Factual, aspiring journalists can choose between over 2,000 related subjects. So, picking the right specialization in such a wide variety of options can be rather hard. But we are here to help you make the right choice! If you are also dreaming about becoming a journalist, read this guide to learn how to select the right major.
When Do You Declare a Major?
Before we tell you what to keep in mind and how to choose the right major, the first thing you have to know is when exactly you’ll need to declare one. All in all, most four-year colleges don’t require you to decide on your primary subject area until you finish your sophomore year. This basically means that if you are currently in high school and are just getting ready to apply to college, you are not obliged to have a specific subject area in mind right now. In most cases, you will have time to try different classes and decide on your specialization later. But there is a catch.
First and foremost, the first years at college are incredibly stressful. You will be loaded with a huge amount of schoolwork, so trying a large number of different classes will be impossible without some extra help. Luckily, you can enlist the help of a trusted paper writing service to rest assured that your homework is taken care of by professionals. This way, you will get enough time to try different options and choose a major. And at the same time, you will be able to keep your grades high.
Another catch to keep in mind is that certain programs require an early commitment. Simply put, they require a certain number of credits and classes in order for you to graduate on time. If you choose a program like this, losing a year or two of college to trying different classes can eventually play a bad joke on you. So, one way or another, it makes pretty good sense to start thinking about your specialization early on.
4 Main Steps to Choosing the Right Major
Now that you know when you’ll have to declare a major, let’s move on to the most responsible part.
Below are the main steps you have to take before making your choice:
Identify Your Interests
The choice of specialization should be made based on your personal interests. So, the first thing you need to do is define what exactly you love doing. A good way to dig deeper into your interests is to make a list of the top 10 things you love. Obviously, you must be interested in writing. But, we bet that there must be other interests too. It should help you understand which area of journalism will suit you best. Also, you can list your key strengths and weaknesses.
Pro tip! If you are not well-versed in career paths, try using a Roadmap to Careers in order to link your interests and strengths to suitable jobs.
Research Career Requirements
After you link your interests to the right job(s), you can use this knowledge to define the right major. Research job listings for careers that suit you and study the top majors employers require for them.
Define Your Career Goals
Another important step in choosing the right major is determining your future career goals. Who do you want to be in, let’s say, 10 years? The answer to this question should help you understand what level of college degree you will need to acquire. And it will also affect the choice of specialization.
Get Professional Advice
If you are having a hard time making a decision, it’s never a bad idea to get professional advice. Talk to career advisors or counselors in your school. Talking to professionals can help you ensure that you’ve chosen the right option for you. And, sometimes, it can even give you some new ideas to consider.
Top Majors Related to Journalism
So, you already know about the steps you need to take in order to pick a suitable specialization. Now, to help you get started, we’ve gathered the top seven majors for aspiring journalists:
- General Journalism,
- Broadcast Journalism,
- Public Relations & Advertising,
- Communication & Media Studies,
- Radio, Television, & Digital Communication,
These are some of the most common and popular areas of study selected by students who seek careers in journalism. Each of these specialties can help you acquire the knowledge, skills, and experience required for building a successful career.
Using the simple steps we shared with you earlier, you should be able to identify your own interests, goals, and needs. Assess the ideas above with this knowledge to see which of these areas will suit you best.
Bonus tip. After you select a suitable major, take an extra step and pick a few backup options. Many colleges recommend doing this in order to be able to easily change your specialization later if necessary.
The Bottom Line
If you have a passion for writing and dream about building a career as a journalist, the best way to start getting closer to your goal is to apply to a college and receive a relevant degree. However, as you already know, the options for aspiring journalists are so broad that making the right choice of a major can be a real challenge.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you will be able to get on the right track and make the right first step towards your goal. Use the tips from this guide to pick the best major and set yourself up for success!