As a college student, a common question you may be asked is the ever-popular, “What’s your major?” That can be a tough one for a lot of students. Often times, students feel pressure to choose a major right away. I’ve heard students tell me countless times, “I don’t want to just take general courses.” While I can understand the desire to feel like you’re working toward a goal rather than wandering through college aimlessly, many students choose a major that may not be right for them or find themselves switching majors frequently. There is a better way.
You don’t have to choose a major right away in order to be working toward your goals. As long as there is some purpose and intention in the courses you choose, you’re doing just fine. For example, you can work to fulfill your general education requirements but fill them with courses that interest you in order to “try out” certain majors. Taking “Intro to Business” may fulfill a needed requirement while giving you some insight as to whether you’re interested in the field of business.
Do Your Research
Head to the library or online to read about different careers you may be interested in. I always advise students to make an informed decision. The more you read, the better grasp you’ll have on what the career involves and whether it might be right for you. Check out an online tool like MyMajors.com where you can narrow down specific majors that may be a good fit and then read more about them and the kinds of coursework and skills that are required for such careers.
Visit a Career Counselor
Most schools have a career center or a career counselor. While doing your research and exploring on your own through coursework are great, they’re no substitute for talking to a career counselor. So many students are hesitant to visit the career center and often spend many semesters agoninzing over choosing a major. Save yourself the agony by making an appointment to sit down with a counselor who can provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision. A career counselor can give you inventories that will tell you a lot about yourself and can match you with careers that fit your personality, aptitudes, and preferences. You’ll also find numerous resources to help you in your decision. Don’t go it alone when there’s someone to help.
Students often have preconceived notions about what they should study. Sometimes these are fueled by the expectations of others, such as parents or friends. The most important thing is to follow your instincts. You know yourself best. You know your likes and dislikes as well as your strengths and weaknesses. Use that self-knowledge when making your decision.
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions about choosing your major or other questions you may have about college.