In this new article you’ll learn how to choose a college major. Your choice in school can make or break you. A large percentage of students struggling to choose their major are torn because their college doesn’t have what they need. If you are till death do you part set on your major, still take this advice into account.
The first step of successfully choosing a major is making sure you apply to school with a variety of things that interest you. That’s what I did, and I am incredibly thankful for that! Don’t focus too much on the name of the school. I don’t mean apply just anywhere. Apply to schools that are at your academic level, and maybe one or two that are higher. You want to be challenged and learn where-ever you go.
Once you have a solid list of schools that you’d want to go to, seriously peruse their list of majors. Make a list of the ones that you would consider AND ones that just sound fun. Look at the types of courses you would take for the majors. For the majors that you would consider, make sure the courses give you enough depth for what you are looking for.
If your colleges have various schools within them (business school, liberal arts, etc.) make sure you have options in the different colleges. Make sure you don’t have to individually apply to each school, though.
Anyway, pick a few interesting majors that you might switch to in each school. Don’t forget to have a lot of options in the school you actual want though. It is easier to switch majors in the same school, so have an array of options.
If you know what you want to do so bad your heart aches, make sure the schools you choose to apply to have the top programs for that major. Don’t let that stop you from paying attention to other majors when making your decision however. With each of the majors that I chose, for a brief second, I thought they were it for me.
College has a way of exposing many things about us, though. We grow to understand more of who we are without factors like family and childhood friends clouding our judgements. You could wind up on a completely different path.
As soon as she got to school and started taking classes, she fell in love with the business school and its opportunities. She isn’t a flip-flopper like me, so that was a drastic change. I guess the lesson here is be open to the possibilities and experiences that college has in store for you.
How To Choose a College Major
CATALOG AND ADVISOR
A lot of schools give you a physical copy of their catalog, so take advantage of that. When you’re in the school that you want to be in, mark up that catalog! Use multiple sticky notes, highlighters, whatever makes you feel organized!
Utilize your advisor! They are literally paid to help you organize your major. Don’t feel as though you are bothering them with anything. Let them help you. They are a wonderful resource!
You will refer to your catalog to keep track of the courses you are taking, so make sure you mark what you have already done in it. It is also a great idea to look through the rest of the majors and their courses to consider entry level classes that would be fun to take.
You might want to take an art class for a brain break, or a political science class to gain more information about how our government works! Get your money’s worth and gain all the information you can! It’s right there in your grasp! Take advantage!
CLASS TASTE TEST
Remember when I said to keep track of the classes you have already taken? Do the same with the number of hours you have completed. This is super important. You want to make sure that you are on track for graduation. Don’t put yourself into a summer school situation unless a 15-18 hour class load is too much per semester.
Some majors have a taxing load of classes, so stay on track! Don’t just rely on your major advisor for this. Start this habit early. This is also good if you want to have multiple majors or minors.
Let’s get back to the main topic at hand, choosing your major. While you are taking classes towards a certain field, make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. You can do this even in high school. If you almost fail Biology, that might be a sign. If you always ace your English classes, make note of that. A major is supposed to compliment you.
One of its main responsibilities is to strengthen your knowledge and make you a stronger and more marketable candidate for the “real world”. You aren’t going to be a better version of yourself if you are almost failing everything you want to take. College shouldn’t be the ultimate struggle academically. It should be challenging, but your health comes first. If find that you aren’t getting better at a subject after doing your best, working with the teacher, and using all available resources, stop working towards it. You are most likely missing your true calling.
Departments generally have “weeding out” classes that determine who is suited for the major. I learned quickly to pay attention to my progress in those classes. That is how I eliminated several majors on my list.
CAREER VERSUS HOBBY
Understand the difference between a career and a hobby. One thing that I struggled with was weeding out the majors that I would only use on the side. You want your major to build your resume up with skills that will benefit your future employers. Your main source of income, one can hope, will be influenced by your major in some way.
Your career is the end-goal job that you want your major to reflect or help in some way. A hobby is something that you do on the side. It isn’t what you get your main source of income from. You can take a break from a hobby as often as you want. Don’t choose a major that you will get tired of quickly. Let it be something that you can see using every day.
Think about your passions and what you love doing. What would you not mind waking up and doing every day? Seriously consider this when you choose your major.
If you want to take a few classes for an outside interest, pick up a minor. Minors can complement your major, but they don’t have to! They can be a fascination for photography that you can’t get out of your head, or a craving for more math in your life. If you find yourself passionate about more than one thing, make a four-year plan and see if you can fit a double or even triple major into it.
You can also have multiple minors if you have a lot of side interests. Utilize clubs and organizations on your campus for interests that are strong, but not strong enough to take multiple classes for. You can also see if there are clubs related to your major or minors for some extra fun and connections!
If you are still drawing a blank after reading all of this, you might just need to experience the required general education classes before deciding. There is no shame in entering college as undecided. Keep this in mind when a thousand people ask you about your college goals at your high school graduation.
You get to have so much fun because the first year of college can truly be about finding yourself and what you love to do. Be open, adventurous, and have fun! College changes everyone, and the undecided sometimes have an easier time than people like me that always need to be working towards something! Don’t stress, but make sure you take some of these tips and apply them.
When you are required to declare a major, life will be a lot easier. You don’t have to stick with what you declare, but by that time, you might want to have some idea. If you are super stressed after high school, you can honestly consider a gap year. Get a job to gain some workforce experience, and think about what you want to get out of life. Try not to get wrapped up in the “money is everything” trap.
Have standards that allow you to live comfortably and enjoy life.