Choosing a Major in College: What to Consider

Many high school students are excited for college, but not all of them know what they’d like to study. Choosing a college major can be a daunting task. Luckily, it’s possible to switch majors if you have enough time to complete a new major. College majors can lead to specific jobs in related fields, and even if you don’t get a job in your major field, you will still learn valuable skills. It’s common for students to pursue graduate studies in fields other than their major field, so don’t feel locked in there. With those caveats out of the way, let’s get to some advice about choosing the right major for you!

First, remember that it’s your choice. There is no one-size-fits-all answer for how to choose a college major. No one else can make the decision for you. You’ll need to consider a variety of factors when deciding what to major in in college, such as your interests and passions, your talents and abilities, whether there is a market for people with your college major, and what jobs you’d like to hold in the future. Some view college as a place to broaden their minds and learn more about their interests and passions. Others view a college major as a means to an end: these students are training to obtain a specific job or type of job. No view is correct, and a balance between the two view might be the most realistic outlook!

Consider Your Interests and Passions

Probably the most important consideration to take when thinking about what college major you’d like to select is an assessment of your interests and passions! Who wants to spend several years studying a subject they hate? It’s much better to spend your college career immersing yourself in topics that interest you. It’s wise to ask yourself, then, what you’re interested in. Where do your passions lie? Perhaps you love math, perhaps you love science, maybe literature inspires and speaks to you. What classes and subjects did you enjoy in high school? These may provide a clue as to what you’d like to major in.

Assess Your Talents and Abilities

Often, talents and abilities present themselves in areas you’re interested in and passionate about, but not always. Sometimes we’re interested in things at which we’re not talented at all, and that’s okay. Sometimes we’re good at things we don’t particularly enjoy. In either case, it’s worth asking yourself whether the areas in which you’re most talented will be good potential major fields of study. If you plan on majoring in a subject you’re not that good at, prepare yourself for the hard work it will take in order to excel. If you’re going to major in something you hate but are good at, prepare yourself for the boredom and potential misery of studying something you dislike. Perhaps you’re doing it for the wrong reasons! The best thing is to major in is something that you’re good at and enjoy. If you’re good at it, it will come easily to you, and when it doesn’t come easily, you will appreciate the work it takes to excel because you enjoy the subject.

Is There a Job Market for Your Major?

Not everyone asks this question, but it’s an important question to ask. Many people view college as a means to an end, and that end in most cases is a full-time job after college. If getting a job in your major field is vitally important to you, it’s extremely wise to assess not only the current job market for students with degrees in your major field, but also the possible job market of the future.

Are There Any Specific Jobs You Dream of Having?

Not every student is dead-set on a specific career at the time he or she is gearing up to leave for college, but many are. If you have an idea of the job you’d like to hold in the future, it is useful to do your research in advance as to what fields of study in college prepare students to one day hold that job. If you don’t have a clear idea of the type of job you’d like to one day hold, don’t fret. Many people switch majors, and many people study fields in college that are not directly related to the field in which they’ll one day work. The same is true of graduate studies. Some continue on to do graduate work in the field in which they did their undergraduate work, but some choose an entirely new field. There is no right or wrong path, so long as you work hard.

Your College Advisor is a Great Resource

Once you’ve enrolled in college, you’ll be assigned an advisor, and you should take advantage of this person’s expertise. Meet with your advisor to discuss potential major and minor fields of study, and ask about graduation requirements for that degree plan. It’s important to take both a short- and a long-term view of your college studies so you know you’re on the right track to graduate with a degree in your chosen fields. You can and should also get in touch with professors in fields that interest you, as chats with them can be invaluable and informative when it comes to choosing a college major. In addition, you can connect with current students in the program and alumni in order to gain valuable insights on issues related to your possible major both during and after college.

Switching Majors is Common

If you’ve chosen a major only to discover that another field interests you more, don’t worry. Many students switch majors during college. It’s critical, however, that you meet with your advisor and ask him or her whether or not switching majors will be practical for you in terms of graduating on time.

Double-Majoring or Selecting Your Minor

Don’t forget that double majoring is an option that’s available to you! Students who are ambitious enough to pursue a double major in college, however, should take care to ensure they’ll be able to complete all of the graduation requirements for students in each major. If you plan on going the traditional route and selecting a major and a minor field of study, be aware of the requirements for that graduation plan as well. Some students select majors and minors in fields that supplement one another, such as history and political science, while other students select major and minor fields of study in divergent areas to allow for their exploration of a diverse array of interest. Often, students choose a major in a more “employable” field and a minor in a field in which they’re more interested. For example, students hoping to gain a job after college might major in engineering and minor in studio art. All things being equal, many students find it wise to major in the more “practical” field and minor in a field that genuinely interests you.

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That’s it! For more college advice, as well as a plethora of SAT and ACT prep tips, check out the rest of our blog. Looking for 1-on-1 ACT or SAT prep tutoring to help you with the college application process? Want to join an SAT or ACT group class? Contact us today!  We’re perfect-scoring tutors with years of experience helping students achieve the SAT and ACT scores they need to make their dreams a reality!

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