How to Find the Perfect Degree the First Time

As students feel increasing pressure to go to university and graduate with a "good" degree suited to them, many are wondering, what exactly constitutes a "perfect" degree?

Know Thyself

Before you can decide what major will be yours for the next four years, you need to know yourself as best as possible. A sculptor probably isn't going to be very happy solving differential equations, and vice versa. Take some time to get to know yourself through volunteering, jobs, hobbies and skills. If you're having trouble narrowing down degree choices you might want to study, take a look at how you spent the last week or two. Did you look at everything around you, wondering how it works and gets put together? Or did you busy yourself with books and crosswords? What area did you score best on during your SATs? Are you part of a sports team, or more content to cheer on the sidelines? This doesn't necessarily mean that you need to find a degree that exactly matches what you're doing now, but that what your naturally drawn to has certain traits that can be found in a college degree (e.g. playing on the football team indicates an affinity for groupwork, something that tends to happen more in a field like business or music than in journalism).

Go for a Test Drive

The best way to see if a class fits for you is to actually attend. Spend your free period at a local college sitting in on a lecture (schedules for classes are available online, and almost never require a student ID to login) to get a good sense if it would work for you. The easiest way to go about it unknown is to pick first-year lectures, like psychology, business, linguistics, math, science or English. These classes are usually filled with hundreds of students, and you'll be able to make your decision in relative anonymity.

Know the Difference between a Hobby, Passion, Career and Calling

There's a saying that you should study what you love because it'll end up better in the long run. That's not quite true—you should pick something that interests and challenges you, but not so much that tough times and obstacles will cause you to lose all love for it. A hobby should be something you enjoy that takes your mind off stress; a passion is something that causes you to completely tune out the outside world; a career is something you enjoy and are challenged by; and a calling is that magic combination of all three that makes work not feel like work.