How do you choose a major?
Your school counselors keep asking you what you’re going to study, your parents continue to gently prod you to choose a major, but you still haven’t figured it out. It’s frustrating because Suzy knows what she is going to study, she’s known since the fifth grade. She’s going to become a biochemist, and at this point you feel like you might live under the shadow of “major: undefined” for the rest of your life.
The search for a major that is right for you is frustrating, confusing and seemingly endless, but it doesn’t need to be.
What is a major and why do I need to choose one?
A major is a term to describe a specialization in a certain subject in college. Majors range from biology to physics, English to psychology, and music to theater. There are so many major programs to choose from, allowing you to pick something you love and would potentially want a career in.
It is difficult to choose your path of study, but you are not alone in that journey, and I am here to help. I won’t be able to tell you specifically what you should choose to study, but I can give you some tools to help you narrow down your search and choose something that is right for you.
- What do you like and enjoy?
You have heard the word passion thrown around. What is your passion? What are you passionate about? I have heard these questions; I have posed these questions, and it always leaves me feeling unfulfilled.
Mental Trick: Replace the word “passion” with the words “like” and “enjoy”. Those things are a great indicator of what you love and care about, and in the end, you might discover that you are passionate about them.
- What are your career goals?
Setting career goals will help you choose a major. Having a clear vision of where you want to be and where you want to go with your future career is key. If you know what you want to do as a career, you will be able to align your studies with that.
- Talk to your friends and family
Your friends and family know you best and can be a great resource for determining what you would like to study.
Talk to your parents about what they have noticed you are passionate about, what they have seen you excel in and the pros and cons of certain paths of study. Your parents know you and want the best for you and it is beneficial to speak with them about these big decisions.
- Talk to your advisers and counselors
Your high school and college advisers get paid to help you figure out your life. They have worked with many students before you, and they can tell you about program offerings and opportunities. It is important to have specific questions for your counselor: what should I major in if I want to pursue_____? What classes should I take outside of my major? How can I make the most out of my college classes?
- Choose the right school for you
There are so many universities to choose from that each have hundreds of programs to choose from. Some universities specialize in certain programs, so select a university that specializes in your chosen field.
- You can also do a minor
Maybe you’re like me, and you are torn between two things that you want to study. For me that was music and communications. I love music, but I also love writing. I felt drawn to studying communications because it incorporated many of my interests. I didn’t want to sacrifice music for communications, but I also knew that studying music wasn’t the path for me.
Lucky for you (and me), we can do a minor!
A minor allows you to take a smaller amount of credits in a program different from your major. You can get the best of both worlds.
- Don’t be afraid to explore
You might have the perception that you need to know exactly what you’re doing once you get to college, and that’s not true. If you don’t know what you want to study, that’s OK! Ask yourself what you like and enjoy, things you are interested in learning, and skills you want to gain. Then, begin exploring. Exploration can help you narrow down the list of what you’d like to study and what you don’t want to study.
Choosing a major, going off to college, and beginning this next phase in your journey is daunting. There are so many questions, and sometimes it feels like you might never figure it out. But you will. You are not alone in trying to choose a major, and you will make the best choice for you, and that’s what really matters.
Have you ever considered digital marketing as a major? Digital marketing is a great, and fun, way to combine many interests into one field of study. Learn more here.