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  • Victoria Zhang

Choosing Degrees


As a student, choosing a Specialist, let alone a focus, can be an overwhelming and daunting task. Rest assured, there have been plenty of students who continue to change their degrees even going into their upper years. To help you with your university journey, here’s some advice gathered from my fellow RCIG members and friends:


1. Don’t limit yourself.

Even when you have had your life plan set on a particular career, it’s never too late for a change in heart. Throughout middle and high school, I was on the path to go to med school. But, during my first year at University, I found myself choosing to be an economics major instead. Why? Simply because I took a macroeconomics class and enjoyed it. The moral of the story: you never know when a new inspiration will hit, and when it does, don’t be quick to turn it away; it just might be a new door.

Second-year student at Duke University

"it's never too late for a change in heart."

2. Play to your strengths

If you have found yourself enjoying pitching ideas and participating in case competitions, perhaps sales or marketing is a path for you. If you’re passionate about writing and researching, market research may be for you. For me, my strength lies in the housing market and investing. I realized that my constant interest in houses and apartments was unique and, after a few business classes, I decided that real estate is an avenue I want to explore. From there, I saw a career for myself: buying apartment complexes and investing in them. Regardless of your expertise, be aware of your strengths and use them to your advantage. You never know when it may set you apart.

Third-year student at the University of Washington


3. Align your degree to your career goals

At first, I was set on the Accounting specialist because I was confident that I would be able to gain the most technical skills important to business. While this is certainly true, I later realized that just because these skills are useful, doesn't mean that they would be useful to me and my career goals. Tuning into my strengths, I found myself having a knack for the qualitative side of business and strategy. While I will continue to learn finance, I will be pursuing it as a focus within the Management Specialist as it will give me more flexibility to my pursue academic interests.

Second-Year Rotman student at the University of Toronto

"Just because these skills are useful, doesn't mean they would be useful to my career goals.

4. Follow your interests

Until I was 16, I had no idea what I wanted to do and I wasn’t passionate about the degree prospect I chose. Later I found that I really enjoyed my biology classes—it was the first thing that piqued my interest. I then started gravitating towards Medicine and wanted to learn more. Passion is so important; so when you’re deciding on your degree, I would think about what your interests are and explore them through things like joining a club or taking an intro class.

Second-Year student at the University of Toronto

Think about what your interests are and explore them

5. Consult the future

If you’re curious about a particular degree, it’s helpful to see what courses are required for it. For instance, when I was first interested in a psychology degree, I looked at the future courses I would be required to take and I found myself excited to learn about them. From there, I planned out some of the courses I’d be taking in my next few years and how they would fit with my other degrees.

Fourth-year student at the University of Toronto


Last Notes

Regardless of your area of study, from economics to medicine, it’s reassuring to know that you are not alone in the degree choosing process. Even if you have multiple interests, you aren’t confined to one specialist or major. Consider minoring or even double majoring! In any case, remember to go with your gut and if all else fails—you can always switch.


Resources:

Use the arts&sci site to find program requirements here.


Apply to programs on ACORN here.

  • Enrol & Manage > Programs

Get help from your academic advisor here.

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