Choosing a major is one of the biggest decisions you will have to make during your college career. Some students have known their dream job since they could talk, and some have no idea where to begin. Wherever you are in this process, here are some tips for finding a major that’s right for you.
1. Identify your interests and skills
Make a list of 10 things you enjoy. This list can include items, activities and subjects. Once you have compiled a list of your interests, try to combine a couple of them and match them to a major. For example, if you love to work out and enjoy your science courses in high school, consider majoring in exercise science. It is also helpful to determine your strengths and weaknesses. From there, you can decide whether you want to choose a major that will play to your strengths or build on your weaknesses.
2. Talk to your advisors and mentors
The best place to start is with your academic advisor, who is well-trained to help you pick classes based on your interests (and eventually your major). If you are undecided in terms of major, your advisor may suggest a course load of diverse subjects to see if any pique your interest. You can also talk to your mentors, whether that is a high school teacher, a coach or a family member. Be prepared with questions to ask them how they navigated college and landed their current career.
3. Figure out your career and professional goals
If you have specific career goals, know what kind of degree (Associate, Bachelor’s, Joint, Graduate or Doctorate) is necessary to achieve them. The University Career Center has many helpful resources to assist you in this process, such as career advisors, who coach students on career exploration and decision-making. Career advisors can also provide students with career assessments that help students see how their interests, values and personalities fit with majors and careers.
4. Have a backup plan
Try to come up with some backup majors and minors. If your first pick doesn’t pan out the way you thought it would, you have plenty to choose from.
College is a time of exploration and new experiences, so try not to put too much pressure on yourself to decide on a major the minute you get to college.