Blog: How to Choose a College Major

Choosing a college major is an extremely tough and important decision. With hundreds of majors to choose from, how is it that you just pick one?
5 Mar 2014 – 12:49 PM EST

by Jined Lamata

How to Choose a College Major.

While being undecided about your major is completely OK"it’s definitely a good idea to begin to narrow down your options before you apply for college or university. This is an extremely tough and important decision for some students.  With hundreds of majors to choose from, how is it that you just pick one?

Research: What’s out there?

There are many exciting career paths that you can take, some of which you’ve might have never heard of. Don’t choose before you’ve considered all the options you’re interested in. And don’t be put off just because you don’t quite know what Marketing, Aerospace Engineering or Anthropology is. Research, find out!

Based off your research, you should begin to think about what kinds of jobs you envision yourself in. A major or career should allow you to take advantage of your strengths while reflecting what you like to do and what is important to you. Another significant question to ask is: how in-demand is this job? For some, pay scale and projected job-growth is certainly a deal breaker. My go-to website when looking for quick facts about a certain field was The Bureau of Labor Statistics ( www.bls.gov); it’s a great resource that gives you this kind of information. Keep in mind that money isn’t everything when choosing future jobs"so choose something that will be fulfilling, something you will be passionate about learning. There’s nothing worse than picking a major that you think will lead to a well paying job, but that you are completely miserable doing.

Narrow down

Now that you have a list of careers that interest you, figure out what type of education you need to pursue. Some careers require you have a Master’s or PhD. Is graduate school something you are willing to do in the long run? Or do you want to begin working right after you’re done with your Bachelor’s degree?

A great way to narrow down your options is by making a list with all the majors you might be interested in. Then, write the pros and cons for each! Visualizing all of your possibilities on paper will make the process of selection much less confusing.

I made the list, now what?

If you’re still not sure what major is right for you, there are a couple of things you can do to make your decision easier:

1- Sit in at some of the classes from your local university that pertain to that major. Most schools allow you to attend courses even if you’re not enrolled.

2- Talk to other students who are enrolled in the programs you’re interested in. But remember, the college experience is unique for everyone"don’t base your decisions strictly on the opinions of others!

3- Try job shadowing; it will give you the opportunity to spend time with a professional who is currently working in the different fields you are interested in.

One last piece of advice, don’t tie yourself into knots by thinking that your choice of major is a bigger commitment than it is. The fact is that the first two years of college are pretty general for everyone. There are many pre-requisites that you have to take before moving on to your major’s academic track. So if you’re still in doubt, just take these first two years to really explore different fields and worry about declaring a major once you feel ready to do so. Besides, your major does not dictate your future or put you onto a career path from which there is absolutely no escape. The U.S. Department of Labor statistics show that average American workers change careers three to five times in their lifetime. So, relax. Make your best pick, and enjoy where life takes you! Good luck!