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(BPT) - Many college-bound students find that there’s one question commonly asked by family members, friends and even complete strangers: What degree are you pursuing? It’s a great conversation starter and gives students an opportunity to share their educational goals with others, but for some who are trying to select from a long list of degree choices for the first time, this seemingly harmless question can be daunting.
CMT artist and Arizona State University online student Ashley Wineland has some tips to share from her personal experience with selecting a college degree. Whether you’re looking to create a plan of action for picking the perfect major or just need some inspiration, Wineland shares four questions she asked herself along the way that helped her select the perfect degree for her professional goals.
1. Will you pursue an online degree?
“I knew I was going to be online bound as soon as I hit my senior year of high school,” Wineland said. “Usually, this is a pretty restrictive path for degree options as most colleges only have paths dedicated in things like business or art history. As someone who had already started building a career in entertainment as a singer/songwriter, I knew that those options weren't going to make the final cut for me.”
2. What is your passion?
Wineland found that her heart and soul was in music entertainment, but a degree path with that primary focus was not available to her. “I had to think outside the box,” she said. “I asked myself important questions like, ‘What can you do that is still creative in nature, but can also aid other parts of your career?’”
3. How can your passion lead to a career?
As Wineland considered how to use the skills she learned to expand her career path and combine with her passion for entertainment, she found a creative, yet business and media focused degree called Film and Media Studies.
“I remember being so ecstatic when I found Film and Media Studies in the degree options,” Wineland said. The degree program has four major areas of emphasis: a screenwriting portion, which allowed Wineland to use her creative writing skills, and the other three areas which focused on the evolution of media, how it is used today and what impact it has on our society.
“I knew I was going to be able to use these skills to improve how I communicated with my fan base, produce visual content — the future of the entertainment industry — and form my business plans. It was an all-encompassing degree that was going to aid me in different facets of my career that I wasn't already actively homing in on.”
4. Are you open to other possibilities?
With more degree options than ever before, there will likely be a few ‘new to you’ majors to consider. Keeping an open mind will help you open up possibilities and, like Wineland, find a perfect fit.
“Overall, I have found a love for my degree and have been able to begin implementing its lessons into my work life,” Wineland said.
A degree you may never have considered, or even known was available, can provide an exciting educational experience — and ASU Online is a great place to start. When choosing your degree, be open to possibilities and reflect on how you can creatively use the skill sets a degree path has to offer to pursue your best life.