A Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing a Degree Program

DBU student studying in library

Deciding on a major is an essential first step in planning your career, but the pressure to pick the "right" path can be overwhelming, especially when so many options exist. What if your degree could offer more than just a career launch? What if it could provide you with a sense of purpose and fulfillment?

At DBU, we believe your education shouldn't just open doors— it should unlock your calling. That's why we're here with a step-by-step guide to help you discover your passions and choose a degree that aligns with your faith and career goals. 

How a Degree Helps You Fulfill Career Goals

Have you ever wondered, "Is it worth it to get a college degree?" If so, you're not alone. Getting a degree involves time, money, and energy, so feeling skeptical about its value is natural.

Here are a few examples of how a college degree can help you reach personal and professional success.

  • Knowledge and specialized skills: A degree isn't just a piece of paper; it's the starting point for becoming a pro in your field. With an undergraduate or graduate degree, you'll gain knowledge and learn specialized skills tailored to your passions.
  • An edge over the competition: In today's competitive job market, employers seek applicants who stand out. A degree enhances your marketability and gives you a competitive advantage over candidates without one.
  • Access to more opportunities: Whether you're interested in climbing the corporate ladder, working in research and development, or starting your own business, a degree opens the door to endless possibilities.
  • Networking and connections: College isn't just about academics; it's also about building relationships. A university environment gives you the opportunity to connect with professors, peers, and industry professionals. These connections can be invaluable for future job opportunities and career guidance.
  • Personal growth and confidence: Overcoming academic challenges, collaborating on projects, and presenting your ideas contribute to developing soft skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication — all of which are highly valued in the professional realm.

How to Set Career Goals

Before you commit to a major, take a moment to think about what you want from your future career. Don't stress — it's not like you need to have all the answers right now. You can change your mind later on.

Here are a few easy steps to help you determine your career goals and choose a degree that feels right.

Step One: Self-Reflection

Dig deep to see what truly interests and motivates you. Ask yourself questions like: What subjects am I passionate about? What activities do I enjoy? Jot them down!

As you're doing this self-reflection, consider your strengths and skills. What are you naturally good at? Knowing your strengths can narrow down your options.

Remember to visualize your ideal future. Where do you see yourself? What challenges are you tackling? What impact do you want to make? This vision will guide your path.

Ultimately, consider the talents the Lord has given you. How can you use your career path to glorify the Lord? Where is He calling you? As you reflect, pray through possible career paths.

Step Two: Research and Exploration

Once you've figured out your interests, strengths, and goals, it's time to start researching different career options and the degrees that align with them.

Here are a few tips:

  • Read program descriptions, visit DBU's website, and attend virtual events. Remember, DBU offers diverse options from STEM fields to humanities, all infused with a Christ-centered perspective.
  • Connect with professionals in areas that interest you. Ask questions, observe their daily work, and gain firsthand insights. Don't be afraid to reach out to DBU alums online or via LinkedIn — their stories can be invaluable.
  • Schedule a meeting with an advisor to chat through your interests, goals, and potential degree options.
  • Speak with friends or church members in your desired field to learn about their school and career paths.

Step Three: Evaluation and Decision Making

Now that you've researched different career paths and degree options, pray and then make a decision. Take a moment to crunch the numbers — think about tuition costs, the job market outlook, and how long the program will take.

But don't forget to consider your values and priorities as well. What matters most to you? Is it job security, work-life balance, or making a positive impact?

Have a heart-to-heart with God about your dreams and ask for guidance and clarity in making this critical decision.

Just remember the words of Joshua 1:9: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (NIV) In God’s time, He always makes it clear what your next steps should be. We take each step in faith, trusting that in the Lord’s time He will reveal the next step. We walk by faith and not by sight and this includes choosing a degree for a particular career.

Choosing a degree is about more than just landing a job — it's about finding your purpose. By following these steps, engaging with DBU's supportive community, and trusting in God's guidance, you'll discover a path that aligns your skills, passions, and faith, leading you to a career that fuels your spirit and makes a difference in the world.

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