If you’re like many university students, you’ll wonder, “Should I double major?” during your college career. Double majoring can give you more marketable skills and open the door to more connections, but it can also cost extra and take longer. Find out the pros and cons of double majoring and decide whether it’s right for you.
Pro: You Could Gain More Marketable Skills
For many college students, deciding on an academic program goes hand in hand with establishing career goals and developing skills that will help you succeed, no matter what you choose to do. While one major may be all you need to achieve your career and academic goals, two majors could offer you more marketable skills.
While many double major students opt to pursue two similar academic programs, such as two liberal arts majors or two science majors, this may not help you develop a diverse range of skills. If you truly want to diversify, consider pursuing a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) majors and a business or liberal arts major.
In addition, keep in mind that more marketable skills may not result in increased earning potential, at least not right away. Although some double majors have advantages, most don’t lead to significantly higher paychecks.
Con: Your Bachelor’s Degree May Cost More
If you’re seriously considering a double major, it’s important to understand how much more it could cost you. After all, adding more credits to your slate typically increases your tuition bill. If you’re already struggling to save money in college, you might find that the extra cost of more credit hours isn’t worth the investment.
In some cases, however, the extra cost might not add up to much. If you’re thinking about pursuing two similar majors, for instance, you may not have to take many extra credit hours.
Pro: You Could Stand Out as a Hard Worker
Those extra skills you gain from pursuing a double major might not result in a higher paycheck, but if you know how to market yourself, you might be able to get more out of your double major investment. For instance, being able to list a double major on your resume could enhance your image as a hard worker and an ambitious, career-oriented person.
Keep in mind that taking on a double major can cause some students’ grades to suffer. If you want to keep up your image as a determined student and a hard worker, make sure your grades accurately reflect your ambition.
Con: You May Need More Time to Graduate
If you’re considering pursuing majors in two very different academic areas, they may have very little course-related overlap. That could mean that in addition to the extra money you’d need to spend on more credits, you’ll also have to devote more time to complete your degree.
Rather than mapping out a time-consuming double major, some students create a comprehensive undergraduate and graduate degree plan instead. Consider whether it’s truly worth your time to earn dual majors or if you’d be better off earning your bachelor’s degree in four years and then pursuing a master’s, doctorate, or professional degree separately.
Pro: You Could Make More Meaningful Connections
Whether you attend a large state school or a small private college, you may find it challenging to network with all of the classmates, professors, and researchers you want to get to know. One of the biggest perks of an undergraduate major is that you’ll get to know the students and faculty in your department well, potentially making lifelong connections. If you pursue two majors, you may be able to double your networking potential.
Keep in mind that taking on a bigger course load may mean you have less time for connecting in a meaningful way. To make this aspect count, you’ll need a strategic approach.
Con: You May Not Have Time for Extracurriculars
Double majoring can create a time crunch when it comes to academics and networking, and with a heavier course load, you might also find that you have limited time for extracurricular activities. That might mean that you don’t have time to build a close-knit community, that you can’t run for student government, or that you can’t put in the time to join a professional club. Only you know how important your extracurricular activities are, so be sure to think about what you might have to give up in order to pursue a double major.
While double majoring is a smart choice for some college students, it might not make sense for others. Take the time to consider your options carefully, weigh the costs and benefits, and talk it over with your academic adviser before making a final decision.