If you’re like most freshmen and sophomore college students, you either haven’t chosen a major yet, or you’re rethinking the major you did choose. You may have even already changed your major once and are considering changing it again! The fact is, most college students don’t walk into their first lecture knowing what they want to do with their lives, and four years later, walk across the stage, diploma in hand, with the same plans. It’s just not that simple.
In college, you will uncover talents you didn’t know you had. You will become interested in subjects you didn’t even know existed. You may realize that despite how hard you try, there are some things you just were not meant to do. You may also discover something you enjoyed on a high school level isn’t so much fun at the college level. Academia is full of doors of opportunity swinging open, left and right, and you’re being asked to pick just one and follow through? For the rest of your life? How can you be sure which is the right door?
Of course choosing a major is overwhelming! So here is a list of tips to consider when choosing your college major:
If you have no clue:
- Get your mandatory core classes out of the way. This will free up your schedule in the following semesters so when you do choose your major, you will have time to really focus in on it, and simply enjoy doing what you love all day, everyday.
- Start at a community college. This will allow you to get your feet wet in some classes that interest you without breaking the bank.
- Take time away from school. By taking a few months to travel or work, you’ll be more in touch with what subjects you start to miss and why.
If you have some clue:
- Do your research. Talk to students in the major, professors, and individuals who have the job you someday seek. Never rely on how the media portrays a particular career.
- Make your college catalog your best friend. Here you will find all the courses you are required to take for any major. Read their descriptions. If you’re bored to tears or if you’re already completely lost, chances are, you haven’t found your major.
- Visit your career center/liberal arts department. Most campuses have councilors and/or programs there to advise students on choosing a major including working with you to help get in the classes you need, when you need them, so you can graduate on time.
Things to remember:
- Your major should be a combination of something that interests you and something you’re capable of doing. Choosing a major you can’t stand just because you’re good at it won’t bring you happiness or satisfaction. Choosing a major you love but can’t handle won’t bring you success.
- Choosing a major in a field that is flourishing might land you a great job after college, but if that field doesn’t excite you, what’s the point?
- Your major should not be dictated by anyone except yourself. While family members and professors may wish to steer you in a particular direction, it’s your life and your future.
- Your major is not your identity or destiny. You can continue to pursue many other doors of opportunity through clubs, organizations, and as hobbies. You could graduate with a degree in one area, and use it to contribute to something completely different. Your major isn’t a lock-down on your life.
- Everyone hates their major at some point, often right before exams. If you’re considering switching majors, take time to seriously consider if you’re truly uninterested and/or incapable, or if you’ve just had a rough week.
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