Choosing a College Major – A Major Decision
“What’s your major?” Three little words, one big question.
Choosing your main area of study is important because you’ll focus on it for the next few years. But if you’re undecided for now it’s not the end of the world. In fact, many students – including international students – start undecided or switch their major after starting school.
So if you’re unsure about what to study at school, here are some tips for choosing a fulfilling and exciting major.
You’re the one who’ll be going to class and taking tests. So you want a major that excites and motivates you. The answers to these questions can help guide you in your decision.
- What subjects interest me most in school?
- What would I be happy doing 10 years from now?
- What are my main skills (and weaknesses)?
- What do I want to get out of my work? (helping others, working with technology, etc.)
- What kind of salary am I looking for?
You’re at school to learn, right? So it’s okay to use your first year as a chance to take classes related to two or three different majors that interest you. This will give you a chance to learn more about different areas of study and get a taste for potential careers. By the end of your freshman or sophomore year, you’ll have enough exposure to follow your heart and brain when choosing your major.
The faculty at your school have real-world experience and can tell more about what the major and career is like. They might even be able to refer you to people they know who are in that career now.
Email professors (find their address in the school directory) and ask when would be a good time to meet. Don’t just show up at office hours unannounced. It will also help to bring some specific questions to guide the conversation.
This is another good way to hear firsthand what potential careers are like. Ask your parents or other relatives if they know people who work in a field that interests you. You can find out what they studied at school, how they chose their career and more.
Plus, if you do decide to follow that career path, you’ll already have a start to your network. That person might even be able to share ongoing advice, or introduce you to a mentor.
Chances are, there are lots of people nearby working in careers based on your potential major. Find them by doing some online research:
- Ask the Career Services department to direct you to businesses that tend to hire graduates from certain majors.
- Set up a LinkedIn. It’s sort of like a professional version of Facebook, and you can search for local people working in specific fields and towns.
- Try using Google to search for nearby organizations that focus on that kind of work, then call or email to ask if there’s someone you could talk to about the industry.
You can find many online, such as at The College Board or TestQ. It might also help to take some personality tests, which can tell you more about your interests, personality and work style. That can help you narrow down your choice of majors to ones that lead to careers and activities that fit you best.
The Career Services team can also offer advice and point you to helpful resources.
Remember: you can always switch your major and focus on something else instead. Choosing your major is an important decision, but it’s also not going to ruin you if you need a little time to decide.
And even if you graduate and decide your major isn’t what you want to do with your life, that’s okay too. It’s common for people to change careers after graduation. Sometimes to a field related to their major, or sometimes something completely different.
Have you already decided on your major? Maybe now you’re ready to hear about the Career Accelerator Program which will help you develop the valuable skills and knowledge you’ll need to successfully launch your career. Find out more by clicking below!