Choosing a Major

A major is a specific subject area in which you will specialize during your college studies. Anywhere from one-third to one-half of the courses you take in college will be in your major or related to it. If you are attending a four-year college or university, you will probably not have to choose your major until the end of your sophomore year. You will have to choose your major earlier if you are pursuing a two-year degree.

Some students choose a major because it will prepare them for a specific career such as engineering or education. Other students choose a major because they have a passion for the subject matter. Don’t think that students who go with their passion will graduate with no career options. Most jobs do not require a particular major.

Choosing a major is a very important but difficult task. Here are some things you can do to help you make the right decision.

  • Choosing a college majorThe first thing to do is to narrow down the choices. Print out the list of undergraduate majors in your college catalog. Cross out those in which you have no interest.
  • Take some introductory courses that are related to majors in which you have interest. Doing this will help you to further narrow down possible choices. In any event, these courses will count towards your degree.
  • Talk with faculty members in majors in which you have interest. These faculty members can provide you with insights based on their own experiences.
  • Talk with students who are majoring in a subject in which you have interest. Ask what drew them to the major and what they hope to do in the future.
  • Attend any information sessions that are offered for majors in which you have interest.
  • Consider those majors that fit well with your skills and abilities.Your likelihood of succeeding in these majors will be high.
  • If you wish to major in a subject that leads directly to a specific career, utilize the services of the career center at your college. The professionals there can assess your skills and your interests and identify careers which match them. They can also provide detailed information about these careers such as job prospects and potential income.

While your choice of a major is an important one, don’t agonize about it. Research has shown that a majority of college students change their major at least once, and that many change their major several times as they proceed through college. The major you eventually choose provides you with direction, but does not put you on a path from which you cannot escape. In fact, most adults change careers several times in their lifetime.