How to Choose a Major in College
The secret is don’t overthink your decision…
One of the hardest things that a college student has to do is choose their major. The process of choosing a major can be difficult. However, it doesn’t have to be a hassle or a stressful process. It’s actually more simple than you think it is.
The secret to choosing your major is to not overthink your decision. Most likely your heart already knows what it wants. However, if you need a little bit of help, let’s dive into a step-by-step guide on how you can choose your major. Please keep in mind that this is just one of many ways for you to choose a major. Take resonates with you and leave what doesn’t work for you!
1. What’s Your Interest?
I feel like so many students feel pressure to choose one interest when in actuality, they can choose as many interests as they want. So, take out a piece of paper, pen, and write down as many career interests as possible. Even if it sparks just 1% of your interest, write it down on your piece of paper.
2. Why Is It Your Interest?
This is where the fun part begins because you (usually) don’t have a “why” for all of your interests. If you do have a reason for each interest, that’s 100% fine! It won’t effect the next few steps. However, if you can’t think of any reasons why you want those interests as a career, just cross it off your list. I encourage you to narrow down your options as much as possible.
3. Have You Given These Interests a Fair Chance?
If you haven’t read my story on how I turned my fear into my college degree then you should definitely check it out! It’s a good explanation on why you shouldn’t rule out all of your options until you’ve given everything a fair chance! Here are some ideas that you can use to give each interest a fair chance. Feel free to use more than one option!
- Take a class from all of the major(s) that interest you (most recommended way)
- Job Shadowing
- Talk to someone in the department of your interest
- Talk to someone who graduated with that major (you can find plenty of alumni on LinkedIn)
4. Add One More Class
Let’s say you’ve narrowed down your options to a few majors. Now it’s time to add another class in those majors and see which one fits your interest the most.
The reason why it’s important to take another class is because it’s extra reassurance that this is the major that you want as your degree. It’s not a “beginner’s luck” type of situation where you happen to have a good experience in that one class. It’s better safe than sorry! However, if your heart already knows the answer then skip this step.
Pro tip: Choose a class that can fulfill more than one requirement. That way if you don’t end up with that major at least it fulfilled a different requirement!
5. Reflection Time
How do you feel after taking a few classes in [whatever major]? Do you feel a strong urge to continue to learn more about [that major]? Are you excited for your future classes? Are there any other classes that spark your interest in that department? These are some example questions that you should ask yourself before you seal the deal.
6. Whatever You Do, Don’t Choose A Major Based On Money
This is a college no-no! Seriously, ask anyone who went to college because they’ll most likely tell you the same thing. Please do not choose a major based on money because your major does not determine your future salary. Of course there are exceptions to the rule if you choose to go to medical school, law school, etc.
These career fields are usually more set in stone compared to other career paths. But honestly, even the most structured career paths have an unknown salary too. Your salary is typically based on your work experience, not your major. So, once again choose your major based on your interest not on the salary.
- Start with your interest
- Have a reason why you want those interests as a career.
- Narrow down your options as much as possible.
- Give each major a fair chance before you eliminate them from your list.
- Don’t choose a major based on money because your major won’t determine your future salary.