You’ve spent countless hours combing through college brochures, touring campuses (both in person and virtually) and painstakingly perfecting your application essay. You anxiously played the waiting game, fretting about which schools would grant you that coveted acceptance letter. And you heavily weighed the pros and cons of every university you got into, agonizing over which was ultimately the best place for you. Now you can finally kick back and relax. There’s just one thing: You need to pick a major.
Don’t worry; there’s no need to hyperventilate. There are no wrong decisions. Your college major won’t lock you into a solitary career track. It certainly isn’t the be-all and end-all, and it won’t be the sole defining aspect of your life. Plenty of undergrads change their majors during college, and plenty more graduates change careers throughout their professional lives.
Of course, you will eventually need to make a decision about your college major. Here are some tips to ease you into the selection process.
9 Tips to Help You Pick a College Major
Take Some Time to Explore Different College Majors
College is all about being exposed to new ideas and new experiences. You’ll have the opportunity to investigate subjects and fields you were never able to while in high school. You could easily uncover passions and interests you didn’t know existed. Who knows? Maybe you’re destined to become a famous cultural anthropologist or a renowned hydrologist.
Don’t Immediately Discount a Subject
Conversely, don’t automatically rule out a discipline because you disliked it in high school. Academic subjects you once thought boring could become fascinating in a new setting. Perhaps you are a math whiz after all!
Consider Your Current Interests and Hobbies
We know this might sound a little obvious. However, you should take some time to really reflect on what you enjoy doing, both in and out of school. There is a great likelihood you can find a corresponding college major.
Think About What You Value
What do you think will be most important to you upon graduating? Are you hoping to make a lot of money right out of the gate? Do you want a job that directly helps people? Will you thrive on high pressure and prestige, or are laid-back vibes and non-corporate entities a must? Are you seeking stability, or is adventure necessary? It’s likely that an accounting major and a ceramics major will lead to far different answers and outcomes.
Check Out the Course Catalogue and Class Syllabi
While they might not be as intriguing as the latest best seller sitting on your nightstand, the course catalogue and class syllabi will give you better insight into what a particular major entails. You’ll learn the types of reading and assignments that will be required of you. If you get goose bumps, perhaps it’s worth exploring. And if it elicits an automatic groan, well it might be best to move on.
Talk to Your Advisors
Let them know your interests and academic strengths. They know what most disciplines demand and what it takes to tackle certain subjects. And they can certainly highlight both classes that are popular with students in general and ones that might hold particular appeal for you.
Ask an Upperclassman
Hey, more seasoned students have been there. It’s quite possible they struggled with their decisions as well. Don’t be afraid to ask for some advice and learn how they went about the process.
Consult Industry Professionals
Is there a certain field you’re hoping to work in after you graduate? Try and reach out to people who are currently active in that particular industry. What skill-sets do they find important (or even mandatory) for success? What did they study in college? Does it relate to the job they now hold? Learning about the path someone else took can be invaluable, and it can help inform the direction you ultimately choose to take.
You Can Choose More Than One College Major
You read that correctly. Don’t worry if your heartstrings are tugging at multiple fields. Most schools will allow you to double (or even triple) major. And if you’re overwhelmed by the thought of double-majoring but want to gain a breadth of knowledge on a particular subject, you can also consider a minor.
We know -- commitment can be hard. However, you need to remember that there are no wrong choices. Your major will not necessarily determine your career. Doctors have majored in art history and professional musicians have majored in economics. As long as you select a subject you find interesting and engaging, you’ll do just fine.