9 Helpful Tips for Choosing the Right College Major
Figuring out how to choose the right college major for you is no easy task…especially since we’re asked to make such an important decision when we’re so young. It can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Your college major doesn’t necessarily determine your future career and there will be plenty of opportunities to change your mind along the way.
In fact, 75% of college students either begin their academic career as undecided or change their major at least once. College is all about exploring yourself and finding what ignites your passion, so don’t be afraid to change your mind. And remember, deciding on a major should be a fun and exciting experience, not a scary one.
Check out our 9 tips on how to find the right college major for you:
1. Talk with Current College Students
Speaking with current college students can be a huge help, especially if those students are majoring in one of the fields you’re interested in. Get an idea of what a typical day in that major looks like and what type of material you’ll be learning.
Talking with current college students can also give you ideas for different majors that you might not have known about or different combinations of majors and minors that match up with your interests.
2. Speak with your Guidance Counselor
Guidance counselors are trained to help students prepare for college and they offer a free resource that many students fail to take advantage of. They can give you information on your potential schools and the different programs they offer as well as talk with you about your strengths and weaknesses to see what fields you might thrive in.
3. Find Others in the Field
Reaching out to professionals on LinkedIn can be a great way to gain an understanding of the possible paths you can take to get into your intended field. It can also paint a picture of what it’s like to work in that field, including necessary credentials and skills, employability, and daily responsibilities.
Talking with professionals on LinkedIn can also open you up to niche jobs that you might not have known about.
4. Focus on Your Passion & Career Goals
Lots of people will tell you to study a profitable major. In fact, you’ve probably been hearing it for the last few years, but that’s not always the best path to go down. Entering a field that pays well isn’t an automatic recipe for success. Following your passion, regardless of what it is, can be just as profitable (and will probably make you happier).
Generally, when we do something we’re passionate about, we put all of our effort into it. When we put all our effort into something, we usually do an amazing job at it and our passion inspires those around us. Being able to make money is nice, but passion will be what gives you the motivation and drive to succeed.
You should also take some time to contemplate your career goals and how your intended major can line up with them. Bonus points if your career goals and passions line up!
5. Think of What You’re Good At
If you’re totally lost, think of what you’re good at! If you have a talent for math, why not look into math or engineering-related majors? If you love meeting people from other cultures, look into international relations or anthropology. You get the idea! A great place to start is to think about your favorite classes or classes you excelled in during high school.
6. Take a Personality Test
Personality tests can be really useful in helping you realize your strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies. Plus, the results often give you a summary of which career fields are best for your personality. You don’t need to necessarily follow what it says, but it can provide a different perspective.
Check out this personality test which provides in-depth results on strengths, weaknesses, and potential career fields.
7. Consider Earning Potential
While income isn’t important to everyone, it should be a factor if one of your life goals is to earn a higher salary. You can use websites like GlassDoor to get an idea of salaries for your potential career field.
8. Get Involved
Participating in extracurricular activities can be a great way to explore your interests and gain experience in various fields. Try joining clubs, sports teams, or volunteer groups at your high school or college. You can also attend events in your community!
9. Don’t Panic!
Determining how to choose the best college major for you shouldn’t send you into panic mode and it’s likely won’t affect your life as much as you think it will. Majors are flexible and there will be plenty of chances to change your mind. Additionally, you can double major which will open up twice as many opportunities for you. Just remember – the most important thing is that you have a degree in general. As you explore your interests, you can adapt your plan and studies to fit your new goals.