Tag Archives: double major

A Note About Double Majoring: Is It Worth It?

In response to my last post, “Decisions, Decisions: Should I Major in Music?”, I had a reader contact me at Kennedy Violins interested in advice concerning the option to double major.

First, if you have interest in opportunities for dual degrees at specific schools such as Julliard, Eastman, Oberlin, or any other university of interest, I encourage you to speak with or e-mail directly a representative from the school such as an academic counselor.

From my personal experience though, I did try to double major and it didn’t turn out to be an ideal experience. To finish both majors would have taken six years instead of four, so I ended up with my music degree and an English minor, finishing in five years instead.

In my opinion, double majoring is not ideal because you aren’t able to fully immerse yourself in both studies. If you try, you’ll likely be overwhelmed, over-committed, and stressed which may lead to an exhausting and negative academic experience. Not to mention that over-committing cuts into practice time and puts grades at risk. If a student does double major, sacrifices made in each area of focus can lead to incomplete focus in each major. Getting two degrees in one go can be done, but often with each major at the expense of the other.

Regardless of what you choose to study, be careful not to bite off more than you can chew!  (Photo by Ashnikov)
Regardless of what you choose to study, be careful not to bite off more than you can chew!
(Photo by Ashnikov)

A comment was made on this post reiterating the truth that just because you don’t major in something (like theatre) doesn’t mean you can’t be involved in it or even go on to become a professional in that field. My sister is a great example–she studied photography and now works as a food photographer for a major network. But she’s also very passionate about acting and musical theater. In addition to her day job as a staff photographer she has taken acting lessons and voice lessons from professional coaches, auditioned for musicals, and landed roles in off-Broadway productions–with pay. Way to be a pro in both fields!

So, in essence, my advice to those interested in double majoring would be to choose one thing to focus on for four (or however many) years and really, really get the most out of that focused education. Maybe minor in the other interest. But there is still plenty of time beyond that undergraduate education to pursue more education in other areas whether in a university setting or a private setting. I tried double majoring because I could, but it didn’t add to my collegiate experience in the way I expected it would.

Good luck! I wish each of you great success in any and every endeavor you pursue!

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