How to Choose the Right Major for College
by Roman Mashchak
Picking the right major (and minor) isn’t an easy decision, so it’s no wonder that more high school seniors are putting “undecided” on application forms. When you start out a 4 year college education, knowing what you want to do before the wide range of choices present themselves to us at university.
Going to college is an amazing opportunity to open our minds and hearts to new experiences. To learn new things. Meet new people, and explore whole new topics and subjects.
Very few freshmen start college knowing exactly what they want to study for a major and therefore exactly what they want to do after graduating. You might start out enjoying psychology and literature, but along the way get interested in chemistry and physics. Picking a major can cause a lot of stress, so here are a few top tips for those wondering about it, whether or not you've started college.
How to pick a major at college?
#1: Know what your options are
Although you may not know what you want to study for a major before applying, it’s always useful to know what majors you can take. For all of the colleges you are applying for, have a good look at what can be taken for a major, and what routes are available to those options.
Even if you’ve got no idea at this stage, it would be a huge waste of time and money to apply for a college that doesn't offer anything you are actually interested in.
#2: Pick what is right for you
Some of your friends may already know what they want.
Others may not have a clue.
Wherever you sit on the major debate, this could have a huge impact on your career and life. Have a think about what career you might want. If you’ve already got an idea, wonderful! If not, you shouldn't worry. Explore and think about and ask about the different options you’re considering, and research more into the majors that will help you achieve those goals, or potential range of goals.
Remember, nothing is final until you decide on a major and you explore the academic route to ensuring you've got enough credits in the right subject to get you onto that course. For that, an app such as Prepler can prove very useful: helping you pick the right, most time and cost effective route forward through the academic jungle of course credits.
When picking a major, don't worry about what your friends are doing. They have their strengths, you have your own. Everyone needs to pick a major that is right for them. After all, this could set the direction for your future career. And as Baz Luhrmann said in his 1999 spoken word song, Wear Sunscreen: “the race is long, and in the end, it's only with yourself.”
#3: Change happens: Trust the process
Change happens, especially at college. We are only figuring ourselves out, so one minute you might love literature. The next moment, you might not want to read another book, ever! College is usually an up-and-down experience. It is difficult, challenging and stressful. It’s also an awesome, amazing experience.
If you aren't happy with the courses you’ve picked, or major you were considering, have a rethink and talk to people about your options. Talk to friends and family. Talk to professors. Ask for advice. Look at new options available, and don't worry, there is always a new way forward into a different major if that is what you want. Trust the process.
#4: Are you excited to study this major?
At college, once we've picked a major, many people are somewhat defined by them. In the same way that we are defined by our jobs. For example: “Hello, my name is__and I’m a__major.” Try out some of your options. Are you excited to study one of these for a major?
Now try out what this could mean for a career. Are you excited to become a journalist, a lawyer, a biochemist, a web developer or marketing professional?
If the answer to both of those questions appeals, and maybe you’re already studying courses to get a taste of the subject, then that is a good sign. If you enjoy studying the subject, then trust your gut, trust the process, and use an app such as Prepler to pick the right route forward to collect the credits you need to get onto the major (and minor) you want.