Choosing a major isn’t easy.
You’ve probably heard someone say the answer is whatever you would do if you had a million dollars, but sometimes the answer isn’t nearly that simple. We don’t have a million dollars, and while many people find themselves happy in careers that are unrelated to their degree, there remains an expectation that whatever field we choose will determine how we spend our days, and how we make a living, for the rest of our lives.
That’s a pretty tough choice when you’ve only had a couple of years to truly determine what you like and what you’re good at.
As a college freshman, I was frequently tormented with this dilemma, and further annoyed with my “undeclared” label. I was (and still am) interested in everything! Having spent my high school days in choruses and musicals, I was determined not to let my love for music die. However; biology was my favorite science, and I was curious as to what I could do with my wicked memorization skills on the college level. Then again, criminal justice fascinated me, and sociology was like taking a class in everything I already think about everyday! Then there was English, my lifelong love, but after a string of less-than-great English teachers, I had lost most of my interest in writing.
Determine Your Skill Level
While many of us would love to become famous actors or professional athletes, at some point, you have to consider your skill level. In my case, while I frequently received solos and was part of the most elite musical group in my high school, I had nothing on those who were majoring in music.
Research Required Coursework
Before choosing a field, take a peek at your college catalog. What classes are required for this major? What does this major prepare you to do? Sometimes, just looking at the coursework will push you in one direction or the other. I took one look at the biology major coursework, saw the amount of practical implications, and moved on.
Research the Career
When you’ve narrowed it down to a couple different major choices, look at what careers would be available to you. Talk to real individuals who hold these jobs. Ask them what the job is like and what can prepare you for it. This might be when you realize you can’t be an environmentalist with a general science degree; rather, you’ll need an earth science degree. This might also be where you realize a particular job isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. After researching career options, I discovered that sociology and law enforcement were not majors that would lead to a job I would actually enjoy.
Get Your Feet Wet
Sometimes you won’t know if you’ve picked the right major until you get your feet wet. After declaring myself an English education major, I came to realize after the first semester that I wasn’t so crazy about the science of learning! That was something I didn’t know until I took an education class. Dabble in your interests and see how it feels!
If it turns out your college doesn’t offer the major you want, Cappex can help you search for colleges that do!