What Are the Advantages of a Double Major?

A double major is sure to impress, but it also means putting a lot more work into something that is already stressful and demanding. Assuming that you have an appropriate second major picked out — one that is relevant to your chosen career or field — what exactly are the advantages of having a second major, and will it be worth your time to go through the additional stress of completing so strenuous a program?

Here are some of the best advantages of having a double major, and why they’re relevant to you in today’s academic environment:

Increasing Your Skill Set

Having a major and a minor, for example, is an impressive academic feat in and of itself, but a minor is not a complete second set of skills. It’s more of a snapshot, or an overview: by itself, it would not make a person stand out in its associated field or industry. A minor needs to be very closely linked to a student’s major in order to make them stand out, or it needs to be something that’s taken more out of a personal interest. By comparison, a second major is something that represents a complete set of expert qualifications. It shows that you are a highly trained and skilled professional, and it carries weight whether your two majors of choice are closely related — or associated with completely different fields.

Expanding Your Career Options

Many of the advantages of pursuing a second major are rooted in how it will make you appear to prospective employers, but there are practical considerations as well. Just as a single major qualifies you to work in a given field (or a closely-related group of fields), having a double major expands your options. You will have a much wider range of jobs and career paths to choose from, and will be more resistant to sudden changes in the economy, particularly those that tend to affect one industry more than another. Many people who change careers midway through their working life wind up going back to school to do so; you’ve taken care of that possibility in advance, and — as needed — you can engage such prospects much more smoothly.

Related resource: 50 Great Schools Where High School Students Can Get College Credit

Exemplifying Leadership Qualities

Leadership, along with the qualities that are seen as integral to making someone an effective leader, is difficult to undervalue in today’s workforce. The initiative that plays into making someone an effective leader is seen as being critical to the success and expansion of a given business. Leadership qualities set you up for executive-level promotions, and are all the more impressive when reinforced by the work ethic that goes into something as difficult and time-consuming as a second major.

Making an Impression

Finally, but certainly not least of all, taking on a second major is a seriously impressive feat. Individuals who successfully pursue a second major experience much higher early success rates when pursuing careers in their primary fields of choice. They receive higher starting pay, and are often evaluated on the basis of relevant experience, due to the added strenuousness of their educational background. A successful double-major student is seen as someone with the drive, the mindset and the simple, unflagging energy to do what needs to be done to succeed.

Would You Like to Know More?

There are a lot of options available to the career-minded student seeking to go beyond the single major. These include taking on a minor, or going the more strenuous route of a double or dual major. The exact definitions of (and variations between) the last two options vary somewhat from school to school, but — in certain fields — they can make all the difference between a stand-out applicant and someone who’s just one more face among many.