How to Choose A College Major

College major
When I was in high school, I was absolutely certain that I wanted to study English and be a teacher for the rest of my life. So, the natural thing for me to do was to apply as an English major when I went to college.

In my first semester, I took a history class that changed my life (at that point) and I changed my major to history. After trudging through an additional semester of history classes that I absolutely hated, I took a step back and really thought about everything for a moment.

What did I really want to do? What interested me? I thought, 'well, there was this one business class I thought was cool... but business? How boring, but it's better than history!' Believe it or not, I graduated in business and have been working in it ever since. And I love it.

So the question is: how do you choose a college major and avoid the struggle that I put myself through? Let's go through it below!

college major

Research the possibilities

If you're completely in the dark as to what majors are available or what your options are, I highly suggest look at a website such as The College Board, which has so many resources for prospective college students.

They have an extremely detailed list of majors, articles with helpful advice and questions that help you narrow down your options. I relied very heavily on the resources that this website offers back when I was looking at college, so I can highly recommend it from experience.

Once you have a good idea of what interests you, even if it's several subjects that aren't related in any way, look at some of the schools that offer those majors or ask teachers or friends their opinions. It's sometimes helpful to get an outside perspective.

Testing the field, registering as "Undeclared"

One great option that you have when applying for college is simply to register as "undeclared" or "undecided" when prompted for a major. This allows you to take your required courses and electives up front during your first year, to get them out of the way, while simultaneously exposing you to different subjects.

When choosing your general education (gen-ed) courses, keep it varied and try different subjects. What you might find is that you want to declare a major in a specific subject that you had never considered before!

Generally, you want to get an idea by your sophomore or junior year, at the latest, so that you have enough time to complete your major-specific coursework.

Change your mind; it's totally okay

Choosing your major is not a permanent decision; you can change your mind as many times as you want. However, keep in mind that if you change it too late in your schoolwork or if you've already completed most of your major-specific coursework, a change in major may delay graduation.

If it helps, I changed my major three times in my first year and a half and only had one additional semester's worth of classes (which I completed over summer and winter semesters).

Consider your future

This is important, as your major and course of study will play a part of determining your future lifestyle and career path. If you have a clear vision of how or where you want to live, keep that in mind when choosing what to study.

For example, looking at majors that offer the highest employment rates post-graduation will provide you more financial stability, especially if you will have student debt. In the same manner, some majors boast the highest salaries post-graduation, so this may affect your choice.

Alternatively, you could disregard the financial aspect altogether and simply go for the course of study that makes you happiest. In the end, you can take whichever approach best fits your situation.

Go for a double major or minor

In the end, if you really can't choose: don't! You can apply for a double major, which will allow you to study two full schedules of coursework for two majors. Of course, this will add time, and money, to your undergraduate degree based on how many courses may overlap between the two majors, so keep this in mind.

Otherwise, you can also declare a minor. This means you can study another subject that interests you, but don't have to dedicate the time needed for a complete course of study that makes up a major. Minors often have fewer required classes to complete, but still allows you to put that experience in your resumé.

college major

Final Notes

Everyone may tell you that this choice decides the rest of your career, but try to take it one step at a time. The important thing is to find something that interests you and that you're passionate about.

College is an exciting time to explore different opportunities and experiences, so take the time to review all of your possibilities.

If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below or reach out to us on Twitter.

Thank you!


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