When filling out a job or college application, you may need to know what your academic interests are. While some are fully aware of what interests them, others may not know what these interests are or why they matter.
Academic interests are areas of study that intrigue someone. Examples of scholarly interest include the arts, literature, science, mathematics, social studies, computers, and more. Some interests are more specific than others. For example, physical health is a more targeted area than just science.
If you are unsure of which academic subjects interest you, you have come to the right place. In this article, you will learn what academic interests are, some examples of what they could be, why they matter, and how to find yours! Let’s get started.
As mentioned above, academic interests are subjects that someone finds intriguing. These feelings then inspire the person to explore them.
But how can you tell the difference between academic interest and an academic “like”? Occasionally, someone may find a subject they enjoy learning about; however, this may not always be an academic interest. For example, someone may enjoy learning about the history of the printing press in school but have no interest in exploring the subject in their own time. The principal difference between an academic like and academic interest is passion.
When someone feels passionate about a subject, they actively explore it, not just in school but independently as well. Additionally, academic “likes” tend to last only short spans of time. Meanwhile, an academic interest is more permanent.
The permanence of the interest connects to one’s passion. The more passionate about the subject a person is, the more likely the interest is to last.
Now that we know what academic interests are, we can look at several examples. Remember, there are hundreds of academic interests—a comprehensive list would be too long. Check out the following table to see a portion of the academic interests available.
As you can see, some academic interests are more specific than others. For example, physical health is a more targeted area than science, teaching, or writing. We can break each area of interest into categories, such as environmental science, history education, and technical writing.
Once you have discovered a broad area of academic interest, you will probably need to explore the various subcategories to refine your curiosity and direction. You can’t study everything, even though it may be tempting!
Why is it so important to know your academic interests? We’ll talk about that below!
Why Are Academic Interests Important?
If you are researching academic interests, you likely already have a reason for them to matter. This reason might include a job application, a college application, registering for college classes, or choosing a major field of study.
But how do academic interests apply in these situations? Let’s start with the more obvious reasons.
When applying for college, the institution often asks for a short essay describing your academic interests. Students who are aware of their academic interests are more likely to put in the effort to succeed. These are the types of students that colleges are looking for.
However, knowing your academic interests can be of use before you even start applying to universities. If your academic interests include music and art, a school like Julliard will suit you more than a state school. However, Juilliard will not be the best option if your academic interests include molecular science. As you can see, knowing your academic interests can help you apply to the correct college and program.
Once you have found a college, applied, and been accepted, knowing your academic interests does not cease to be of use. The next step is to choose a major field of study or your degree. Choose your degree based on your academic interests.
After selecting a major field of study, it is time for class enrollment. Your degree audit will require you to take specific classes; however, there are a certain number of credits reserved as electives. Use your academic interests to select courses for your elective credits. Doing so will ensure you enjoy the class.
Listing your academic interests on a job application may seem confusing; however, there is a good reason. Students who choose classes based on their academic interests are more likely to pay attention and pass the course. Employers use the same mentality. If your academic interests align with their company goals, you are more likely to dedicate your efforts to your work.
As you can see, there are multiple reasons to know your academic interests. Keep reading below to learn how to find yours!
How to Find Your Academic Interests
Finding your academic interests will be a personal journey. No two people will discover their interests the same way. If you are struggling to identify your academic interests, there are several methods you can try.
First, examine what has interested you throughout your life. In what classes did you excel? What type of movies do you enjoy watching most? Now, identify what aspect intrigued you most. Were you most curious about algebra or the science involved in your chemistry class? Was it the contents of the movie that interested you? Or the movie creation itself?
Second, try new things. Do not settle for the same old, boring activities every day. Branch out and discover your interests. You can even discover your academic interests through non-academic channels. These may include clubs, sports, social activities, and much more. As you develop hobbies, you may find your academic interests as well.
If you think you have found an academic interest, cultivate it. Explore the aspects of the subject. If your exploration leads to you no longer enjoying the interest, start again! Do not get discouraged.
Remember, there is no one right way to find your academic interests. Some will know what interests them from a young age, while others must wait until adulthood to make that discovery. Do not rush the process. Instead, enjoy it! Find new things (and old things) that bring you joy. Follow your passions, and as you do, you will find your academic interests.