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How to Choose a College Major

Posted on by Unity For Equality

Choosing your college major can feel overwhelming. There are thousands of options and the thought that you have to pick ONE can feel like you’re trapping yourself into a field you might not like later down the road. 

It doesn’t have to be stressful. 

Ask yourself a few questions. Your answers don’t have to be definitive, but as long as they’re authentically you, the right college major will be easy to find. 

WHAT DO YOU LIKE DOING?

For some people, what you’re good at and what you like are the same, other people may be good at a certain subject but not enjoy it, and some people have no idea if they actually like their work or just like that they’re good at it. 

Which is it for you?

  • What are your best subjects in high school?

If you’re good at a specific subject, picking a major that lets you use and expand your skills means that you’ll already be starting your degree with a general understanding and maybe some confidence. 

Not only is it important to make your decision based on what you’re good at, but you also need to consider what you enjoy doing. 

  • What is your favorite class in high school?    

Making the most out of your college experience depends on you putting in the hard work and actually participating. It’s a lot easier to motivate yourself when you actually enjoy the work you’re doing (or at least what you’re learning about).

  • What hobbies do you enjoy both in and out of school?

Make sure the major you choose will lead you to a career path you think will enjoy for years after college. 

Like to read? Go for an English degree and become an editor.

Like to spend time outside? Major in geology or marine biology.

WHAT DO YOU WANT OUT OF YOUR DEGREE?

  • Do you have a career in mind?

If you think you know what you want to do then try to choose a major that will prepare you for that career. A quick search for what professionals in ‘x’ field majored in might help you get an idea.

For example, if you want to be a doctor you can major in pred-med, biology, or psychology. 

  • How profitable are the majors you’re considering?

College is expensive and although for some it’s an opportunity to follow their passion, for others, it is a necessary investment to get them on their way to a career. 

While it’s not recommended to pick your major based solely on the opportunities for financial ‘reimbursement’, it is an important factor to keep in mind. STEM majors for example are notorious for demand in the workforce and generally have well-paying starting salaries

WHY DO YOU FEEL PRESSURED?

  • Do you have to make the decision alone?

Talking through your options with someone you trust like a parent, counselor, or academic advisor can give you a new or different perspective on your options. 

Although asking for advice can help you make this big decision, it is YOURS to make. Don’t pick a major because it’s the path you parents want you to follow or because your advisors tell you that the path you want to follow isn’t a ‘good decision’. 

  • Why force a decision?

Choosing your major now doesn’t have to be a final decision. If you choose a major and then later feel that you’re not interested in the program or the career options it offers, there is no reason you can’t change your mind. 

Universities understand that this is a big decision and make it easy for their students to change their major and pursue the degree that fits them. 

  • Do you HAVE to decide?

I know how that sounds but hear me out.

In the end, if you can’t decide, most U.S. schools allow you to enter with an ‘undecided’. Take the first year or two to decide which classes you enjoy, which you are good at, and what path you want to pursue.