5 Tips For Choosing The Perfect College Major
Here you are, graduate, on the edge of an exciting new stage of life, and you’re not sure where to take your next step. You know that college is where you’ll be planting your feet next, but you’re undecided about what your major will be in. You’re not alone in this, because somewhere between 20% and 50% of students start off as undeclared, so don’t panic! It’s normal for the college freshman to spend some time exploring their interests and figuring out just what they love doing. Choosing your major, though, is crucial to staying on track, and it will maximize the impact of your time at college. Whether you’re a college freshman exploring your opportunities, or a new high school graduate ready for university, here are five tips to help you choose the perfect major for you!
Think about what genuinely interests you.
I’m sure this one has crossed your mind, but for a lot of reasons, it might not be priority one when it comes to choosing your major. Majoring in something that you love should be at the top of your list, because the career that comes from it will most likely be something you’ll be doing for decades of your life. If there’s a million things you can see yourself doing, ask your career center for self-assessment resources to help you decide. Reflect on your past experiences – jobs you’ve loved, or subjects you love studying – and think about where you’ve excelled to help you find just where your passions lie.
2. Know your values and beliefs.
What you believe will determine how you live. When you’re choosing your major, think about whether you enjoy helping others, or if you enjoy thinking through deep issues and solving problems, or if you work best alone or in a team. Because your values and beliefs are the foundation of who you are, naturally you’ll want to work in a way that’s important to you. Figuring out what’s important in your life could be as simple as listing them out on paper, and doing this might tell more about yourself and your beliefs than you knew before. Narrow down the values that you want to tap into in your career, and it will set you on a fast-track to choosing a major tailor-fit for you.
3. Get advice from those who know you well
There’s safety in an abundance of counselors. While you will always make any final decisions, going to trusted advisors can give you immense clarity about what you’re good at, and where you should apply your passion. Talk to your parents, your friends, and other wise adults who could help guide you. Once you’ve done some thinking with them, seek help from career counselors and academic advisors to make sure that you surround yourself with support to help you make the best and most informed decisions.
4. Take majors out for a test drive
Knowing something is the wrong fit for you is just as important as knowing when it’s just right. Try a major on for size by enrolling in an introductory course. Most likely it will even count toward your general education or elective requirements, too! If you’re into business, for example, try out an introductory management course, and if it grabs your interest, consider continuing and talking with others in the major. Chances are they’ll be able to help you determine if it’s the right fit for you. If it’s not, count it as a success, because you’re one step closer to the perfect major. From there, look into other worthwhile classes, and keep exploring – you’re bound to hit gold.
5. Follow your own dreams
You should be the one who decides your major, and your major should be in what you’ve dreamed of doing. Your dreams are something that you’re passionate about, and they’re the best vision for determining what you’ll love to study. What’s more is that, if you’re passionate about your major, you’re more likely to fully engage with your studies and enjoy the process, which will make you more valuable when you enter the workforce. Avoid looking for the major that will make the most money; while there’s nothing wrong with making a good living, the most important reason for your happiness when you’re working, decades later, will be if you enjoy what you do. That’s where you’ll find the most fulfillment, and it’s following your dream that will get you there.
Hopefully these few tips will help set you up for success in your education and in your career. Congratulations on a job well done so far, and here’s to all of your many achievements to come!5