Major Myths

Many students begin exploring majors with some misconceptions about how to choose a major and the impact that choice will have on their future careers and lives. Listed below are some popular myths about choosing a major and a career, and examples of why these ideas may be false.

Myth 1: Choosing a major and a career are the same thing

Fact: Choosing a major is not the same thing as choosing a career. One major can lead to many different careers, and one career may be reached through many different majors. For example, students who major in the arts, humanities, or social sciences can find various types of jobs in business, research, human resources, teaching, consulting, and non-governmental organizations. Students with engineering majors, in addition to the variety of jobs available in industry, can also find jobs in teaching, research and development, management, and consulting. In fact, many students find themselves working in fields that are only remotely related to their majors.

Myth 2: I will have only one career in my lifetime

Fact: Nowadays most graduates are likely to change jobs and career fields five or six times by the time they retire. People continue to change throughout life and so does the job market. Many occupations that will be available in 10 or 20 years may not even exist yet! It is important to continue developing your competences and skills, evaluate and re-evaluate your career goals.

Myth 3: Choosing one major means giving up all the others

Fact: Choosing one major does not mean giving up all other opportunities, especially at Sabancı University. There are many ways of combining your interests and desires. You can choose your elective courses from any disciplines that are of interest to you. You can choose to do a double major or select minor programs in various fields. For example, you can choose an engineering major and have a minor in Psychology and/or Business Analytics, or you can have a double major in Computer Science and Biology. After graduation, you can continue your studies with a postgraduate degree in a different field. For example, a student with an undergraduate degree in Engineering, can earn a Master’s degree in Economics or pursue an MBA degree

Myth 4: The more majors and minors I combine, the more marketable I will be

Fact: Sometimes choosing too many majors/minors may leave a student with lots of knowledge in different fields but no focus, and no additional marketability. Furthermore, be aware that there are many requirements which need to be fulfilled during your study. Think carefully about your goals and opportunity costs before deciding whether or not to double minor or pursue a combined degree program. To increase your chances of having a better job, you may also consider diversifying your undergraduate experience with various internships, volunteer experience, skills development programs or language programs.

Myth 5: The best way to find out about a major is to take courses in it

Fact: Taking introductory courses is one way to learn about a particular major. However, it may not be the most optimal way, especially if you are at the beginning of your major exploration journey. It is essential to gather information about the major from all available sources (internet, program coordinators, diploma area advisors, instructors, alumni, friends, etc.) in order to understand what this major will provide you in terms of knowledge and skills.

Myth 6: Career assessments will tell me exactly what career is right for me

Fact: Personal Inventories and Career assessment tests are useful in helping you to learn more about yourself and how you can best tie your abilities and interests to possible career options. However, no test or inventory can tell you what to do with your life and what field you should choose. Use assessments with caution, and critically examine test results. It is up to you to explore careers further and decide if they are a good match for you. You know yourself the best.

Myth 7: I should choose a major in a field that is currently popular in the job market

Fact: The job market fluctuates constantly due to changes in economic conditions, technological development and the labor supply. Furthermore, jobs that exist and are hiring today may be very different in the future, with new occupations emerging all the time. Therefore, the current labor market is a factor, which should be considered when choosing your major, but it is better to choose a major and a career also taking into account your interests, talents, skills, values and goals.