Don’t Rush to Choose Your Major

Let’s face it, a college degree is becoming more of a necessity in today’s competitive job market than it was in bygone years. Today, one in three people in the U.S. hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. With so much pressure to earn a degree that will allow you to join the job force, students often rush into the wrong major in an effort to “just pick one”. If you’re feeling stressed about your undeclared status, know that you’re not alone. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 80% of students change their major at least once, so even freshmen who enroll as a declared major are more likely than not to switch it up.

Especially in Liberal Arts Colleges, students are encouraged to survey courses ranging from Microbiology to U.S. History Through Film, zeroing in on Don't Rush to Choose Your Majorpotential areas of study and ruling out others. If you’re in pursuit of a major that will get you to where you want to be post-graduation (even if you don’t quite know where that is), be proactive. It’s OK to be undecided as long as you’re making steps towards finding your perfect fit.

Before You’ve Declared

Do your research. If there are a few different fields of study you think you may be interested, talk to as many people as you can in those fields. Connecting with upperclassman can also be a huge help in deciding the right path for you. Try joining a private social media group created for students at your college to connect with upperclassman. You should also:

Job Shadow

Informational interviews and job shadowing are possibly the most beneficial tools in your arsenal. They allow you to gain invaluable insight into what working in the field is really like and could help you discover a new position you didn’t even know existed.

Aim to schedule at least one informational interview a week. You’ll be surprised at how receptive many professionals are to helping students (plus, everyone likes talking about themselves). Your first step should be to check a company or organization’s website for contact information. Brevity is important when reaching out. Be professional and to-the-point about who you are and what you’re looking for. Connect via email and follow up if you don’t hear back within a week. If you don’t hear anything back after the second try, find another candidate.

LinkedIn is an incredible resource for connecting with professionals across fields. Create a profile with a clear, professional photo of yourself (try paying a visit to the photography department at your school and asking students if they’re willing to take a headshot of you). Your headshot doesn’t have to be professional grade, you just have to look professional in it. Make sure your profile indicates that you are a student at the college in which you attend and that you are looking to meet with professionals in specific fields. Search companies or organizations you’re interested in working with to view a list of employees. If you do not have their email addresses, connect as a “Friend” and be sure to introduce yourself in the optional message when you ask to connect.

Many professionals will suggest meeting for coffee if you don’t first imply that you would like to come to their office. Though this isn’t always an option, meeting at someone’s office can give you valuable insight into the work environment as a whole and how this person’s particular job fits into the bigger picture.

It’s important to dress appropriately for an informational interview. If you’re not sure what to wear, call the front desk to ask what the office dress code is and match that. Always bring a pen and paper, turn your cellphone off, and have some questions prepared. Lastly, visit a few different professionals at different companies or organizations that hold similar jobs as the experience may be completely different from place to place.

If you’re considering a teaching degree, get in touch with a local school district. Dress professionally and visit the school’s main office during school hours. Introduce yourself and explain that you are a student who is considering earning a teaching degree and are interested in any opportunities that would allow you to shadow in a classroom. If you attend a college close to where you attended primary or secondary school, reach out to teachers who have had you as a student to inquire about shadow opportunities. Be sure to shadow a few different teachers, grades, and subjects.

Talk to Professors

Make sure the programs you’re interested in are exactly what they appear to be. Some programs prepare students to continue on in academia where others focus on job acquisition. If you think you want to study biology with a botany focus, make sure your school’s biology program has that track. Talking to professors may help you discover the program focuses on something you aren’t interested in or help uncover an entirely new focus that could be a better fit. Check your college’s website for faculty descriptions and contact information.

Focusing Your Declared Major

You can focus your major by adding a minor or taking specific courses within your major. Focusing your major will make your path more clear and help you build up a resume that will land you the specific job you’re after.

Join Clubs

Most colleges will have career-centered clubs that help students be proactive in building connections and exploring niches within their area of study. Many clubs book guest speakers for meetings or tour different organizations in the area. Clubs are a great way to learn about internship opportunities that could lead to further interest specialization. Clubs can help boost your resume, too. For example, writing for the school newspaper can help a journalism major decide whether they excel in writing or editing while they produce clips for their portfolio.

Off-Site Learning Opportunities

Off-site learning opportunities are a great next step to focus your major once you’ve declared. Maybe you know you want to work in humanitarian work, but aren’t sure if you want to focus domestically or abroad. A study abroad program could help you decide. Teaching degree programs often offer assistance in finding student teaching positions in local schools. Students pursuing other fields can often get credit while working at off-site internships that could reveal additional potential job descriptions.



5 Great Reasons to Pursue a Teaching Degree

Teaching is an incredible experience and worthwhile profession. Not only do you have an impact on thousands of peoples’ lives, but every year – every day – is different. Chances are you have an age group in mind that you want to work with and field of study that captivates your interests. Imagine being able to gush about your passion while gaining fresh insight on a daily basis. It’s no wonder so many people choose to be teachers and professors.5 Great Reasons to Pursue a Teaching Degree

Then again, maybe you’re on the fence. Maybe you’ve had friends, parents, or even colleagues that have painted teaching as a profession that’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Let’s put the naysayers to rest and show you five great reasons why you should pursue a teaching degree.

1. Teachers Will Always Be In Demand

It probably doesn’t surprise you to learn that the teaching profession (like nurses and doctors) is always in demand. The National Center for Education Information (NCEI) reported that almost 3.7 million teachers were working in America’s elementary and secondary schools alone. That’s a lot of teachers! That number is expected to rise to 4 million by 2018, which means teaching provides real job security.

2. Bachelor’s Degrees Are Required

There are some people who may be thinking they can find a trade school or certification program that will enable them to be a teacher. However, as the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) pointed out, just about 98% of all teachers at elementary and secondary schools had a four-year degree or more.

For many states and districts, a Bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement if you want to pursue a career in teaching. So, while a teaching certificate is helpful, it won’t function on its own, but in some cases, a teaching degree will be all you need.

3. Teaching Degrees Prepare You For Teaching

There are people that will pursue the five-year route of obtaining a BA degree from a christian college in their field of study and then go on to attain a teaching credential. While this choice is valid and works for some people, it is more common to see these teachers go back to school to receive additional training in teaching.

Meanwhile, earning a teaching degree means that every moment of your education is preparing you to be a teacher. Your courses will teach you more about creating a curriculum, writing lesson plans, managing classrooms, working with children or teens, and how to improve your skills. In short, a teaching degree doesn’t simply prepare you to teach your area of interest, it teaches you to be a teacher. For many people, this is the greatest perk because it’s personally transformative. You can actually become a teacher in and out of the classroom. Plus, you’re far more prepared to handle whatever stressors may come from working in a classroom.

4. An Interactive Teaching Approach

A teaching degree is constantly putting you to work in the field. You’re going to be working with actual students over the course of your four years of study. This means real experience that you can put on a resume, but also – and more importantly – learn and prepare from.

The people who tend to pursue their own degree programs and then follow it up with a teaching certification often feel overwhelmed. They worked in a classroom with their peers, discussing the subject matter at a high level. After four years of doing this, the challenge is then to adapt quickly to the much more fast-paced and often rambunctious elementary and secondary school atmosphere. It’s challenging and it can throw a five-year plan into disarray and cause self-doubt.

Meanwhile, students who pursue a teaching degree from a christian college are deeply enmeshed in classrooms, gaining real experience, and really seeing how they fit into the role. Moreover, there’s more time, so they have an opportunity to acquire much needed feedback from the esteemed staff. They can help you conquer your weaknesses and nurture your strengths.

5. A Teaching Degree Promises More Money

No one jumps into the teaching profession for the money, it’s for the active environment, working with young people, and constantly talking about your interests. It’s a lot of responsibility (and quite the undertaking), but wholly worth it. That’s why, you may be surprised to learn that a teaching degree usually provides the additional benefit of “more money.”

Although there’s always a demand for teachers, the wages can be very competitive and that’s when your unique experience determines your value to the school. You may have someone applying for a teaching position who has a Ph.D. in children’s psychology… but if they’ve never worked in a classroom, you may be surprised by the outcome. Similarly, someone with a Bachelor’s in their field of study (who acquired a teaching credential after) may not be compensated for their years’ worth of academic experience if they have not had sufficient classroom experience.

However, if you pursue a teaching degree, you not only have four years of experience in the classroom, but you also have esteemed faculty members as references to write recommendations.

In addition to these five reasons, think about this as well: if you’re passionate about something, you’re going to learn about it. So if you’re a history buff or fascinated by the English language, you will continue to read and explore these fields on your own. If you’re passionate about teaching however, it’s hard to continue exploring that passion without a classroom. You can study teaching in theory, but in order to really understand the profession, you need experience – that’s what a teaching degree offers.




Accelerated BA/MAT Program Now Offered

Obtain your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in teaching in less than 5 years with our accelerated Master of Arts in Teaching program.

Warner Pacific BA/MAT programNew and transfer students starting at Warner Pacific in Fall 2014 now have the opportunity to gain both their bachelor’s degree and their master’s degree in less than 5 years saving an average of $34,000 in tuition expenses.

Our graduates can begin teaching in middle or high school with their Oregon and/or Washington teaching licenses in less time and potentially earn more money than fellow first-year teachers who have yet to finish a master’s program.

The typical undergraduate secondary licensure program at other colleges can take 5 or 6 years to complete. Students following that track would still need to earn a master’s degree within 10 years after graduating with their bachelor’s degree.

Our program is unique. With a tuition that is 25% lower than other comparative programs, students will save an average of $34,000 and earning both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in less time. This is the Warner Pacific way.

  • Year 1 and 2:
  • Engage in core classes and explore content areas
  • Choose your approved content area for study
  • Year 3 and 4:
  • Begin application and testing process
  • Finish content area course requirements
  • Graduate in May with your bachelor’s degree
  • Year 4.5 (May to December):
  • Begin MAT program immediately
  • Student teach in your content area from August to December
  • Graduate in December with your MAT

To learn more about how you can earn your bachelor’s degree and Master of Arts in Teaching in this one-of-a-kind program at Warner Pacific, please visit

If you already have your bachelor’s degree and would like to pursue your MAT through Warner Pacific College please visit adult-degree-program.