When it comes to planning for college, there are few decisions more stressful or impactful than choosing a major.
Today, there are more options for students than ever before when it comes to the focus of their studies.
Whether you enjoy science and mathematics or are more creatively-minded, there’s a major out there for you.
But the importance of the decision and the wide range of options can make choosing a major highly intimidating, to say the least.
There’s also a common belief that the major you choose will determine the entirety of your future career and the trajectory of your life in general.
And while your major certainly has a significant impact on certain elements of your future, choosing a major that’s not a good fit isn’t the end of the world. But we’ll discuss that in detail later on.
We hope that our guide on how to choose a major that is right for you will help alleviate some of the stress associated with the process.
Take Your Time
Even if your chosen college requires you to choose your major by a specific deadline, do your best to stay calm and give yourself plenty of time to think on the decision.
You may have a gut feeling that attracts you toward a certain major, you should still try to research other majors based on subjects that you’re interested in.
There are also many different factors to consider when choosing a major. For example, there’s projected salary, job security, and competition, all of which can have a bearing on which major you’d like to pursue.
And even more importantly, how much do you care about each of these factors? It could be your goal is just to make as much money as possible. Or maybe you’re more interested in enjoying your job, regardless of how much it pays.
Choosing a major is an important decision and an important moment in your life. Don’t let yourself be rushed into making a split-second choice.
Explore Your Interests and Hobbies
One of the best ways to predict whether or not you would enjoy a specific major is to explore your personal talents and interests.
In middle school and high school, you probably to started to focus on certain hobbies and activities.
Now is the time to ask yourself whether you would enjoy doing any of these things as a lifelong profession.
It’s also a chance to ask yourself how talented you are with regards to these activities. How interested would you be in developing and honing your skills?
Give yourself a chance to explore different career opportunities around different subjects.
You also shouldn’t take majors at face value. Many professions make use of different skill sets all at once.
The next crucial step is to explore different programs for different majors based on the schools you’re considering.
For example, if you would like to study film but all the best film programs are at schools you can’t afford, then you may want to explore the top programs at nearby colleges that offer an in-state student discount.
Certain majors may not require innovative teaching programs. Professions that focus more on objective and established procedures are typically easier to teach to students.
When considering different schools that you’d like to apply to, you should also make sure that each school offers multiple majors that you’d be interested in.
This way, if you eventually decide to change your major, you may not also have to transfer schools.
If there’s already a major that you’ve just about decided on, then you should look to connect with professionals already working in the area.
Ask friends and family whether they know anyone who works in your area of interest. Once you’ve tracked down one or two professionals, ask whether you’d be able to shadow them for half day at their place of work.
Many students have to wait years to find out exactly what it’s like to work within a certain industry.
Getting insights into what your life could become is a great way to examine whether or not a major is for you.
Have a Backup Plan
As we mentioned earlier, many students may choose to change their major a few months or even a few years into a program.
And if a student has specialized in one area, then it may prove to be more difficult to transition to a new major.
This is why we highly recommend that you always have a backup plan in place, and not just with regards to the major itself.
If for some reason you have to step away from college for a period of time, you should find ways to practice your craft in other ways.
Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind
And if you do find yourself in a position where you feel the need to change your major, don’t worry. You’re definitely not alone.
Committing to a major that’s just not right for you could lead to years of difficulty and resentment. That’s why it’s so important to keep your mind open to alternatives at all times.
If you’re starting to worry that your chosen major isn’t a good fit for your talents and your ambitions, try to speak with a counselor at school or with some close friends or family members.
Maybe some of them have gone through a similar experience in the past, and have some valuable insights on how to keep calm during this challenging time.
College should remain an exciting time for all students. There will always be challenges, big and small, but these challenges shouldn’t discourage students from enjoying their time in college.
It’s a time to learn more about yourself and explore what you’d like to do with the rest of your life.
So have fun, study hard, and make some close friends who will be able to help guide you through your problems, including the process of choosing or changing a major.
No matter what happens, never be afraid to ask for help. You’ll be surprised by how many people are willing to help, regardless of the situation.