“What will you major in?” If you are heading to college or facing high school graduation soon, get used to hearing this common question. Choosing a college major is a huge decision, and you don’t want to take it lightly. These tips for choosing a major will help you understand how to dig in, discover your options, and choose one that fits perfectly.
What Is a Major in College?
A major is the subject area you choose to study and specialize in while at college, and it usually aligns with your career goals. For example, if you wish to become a teacher, you will major in something like Elementary Education, Teacher Education, or Secondary Education with a subject-area emphasis.
When Do You Declare a Major?
You can declare your major when you enter your college experience, but you may not know as a new freshman what you want to do. Your college may have a specific time they wish you to declare a major—commonly by the end of your sophomore year. During the time when you do not have a major, you will focus on taking core curriculum classes, like math and English.
What’s the Difference Between a Major and Minor?
Many college students will have both a major and a minor. The major is the main subject area they study and specialize in. The minor is a secondary focus, often a specialization that complements the major and adds to the student’s eventual skill set. It requires fewer credits and for most programs is not a graduation requirement.
Tips for Choosing a Major
Undecided students can feel some confusion about how to choose from different popular majors and focus on a field of study they love. If that’s you, here are some tips to help:
1. Educate Yourself on All the Major Options
If you have already chosen a school, take some time to familiarize yourself with all the different options for majors. You can also familiarize yourself with the majors in the areas you feel called to explore. For instance, if you know you love STEM, focus your exploration on science and mathematics majors. You may find there is a program you didn’t know existed that you can tap.
2. Consider Your Interests
What subject interests you? What do you enjoy learning about? This can actually have quite a large impact on your major. Choosing a major means choosing to focus a large amount of time on one particular area, so you want to be certain it’s an area you are interested in learning about.
By aligning your major choice to your interests, you get an additional benefit. The people you study alongside often have similar interests, giving you the chance to make rich friendships and professional network connections that may follow you out of college and into your career.
3. Consider Your Passion
Do you have an area of life and society that is a strong passion? If so, then this can direct your choice in a major. Pursuing a career in a field you feel passionate about can energize your future work life. Have the courage to follow your passion as a major, especially if it has career potential.
For example, if you are passionate about helping disadvantaged or struggling individuals, you can pursue a career in social work with a major in that field. If you love the arts, consider a major in art, performance, or even design. When you follow your passions in college, you will study alongside people and faculty that share those passions, and you will better enjoy the experience.
4. Consider Your Strengths
College is going to be harder than high school. You should expect it to challenge your abilities and your thinking. However, if you explore a major field that aligns with your strengths, it will be attainable with a bit of hard work. So, consider your strengths.
Are there certain areas where you excel? Is there a way to channel these toward a major? You will find that college is far more enjoyable if you are able to focus your studies on a field that comes somewhat naturally to you. Having success in that field will make your college experience very rewarding.
5. Get Help from an Advisor or Faculty in the Major
Once you start leaning toward a particular field or major, it’s time to start getting more specific advice. Reach out to the advisor or a faculty member who works in that major or the over-arching field that supports it. Set up a time to talk to them about their department. Get to know more about what you will study, what career potential there is, what are the benefits and drawbacks of that line of study, and whether your skill set fits well.
6. Take Intro Classes that Explore the Major
If you are settling on one particular idea for your major, the next step is to take classes to explore the major and see if it fits. Many intro classes can expose you to the over-arching ideas of the major field, and you can then decide if it fits your goals. These classes may not translate into another major field if you change your mind, but they give you a safe place to explore ideas and ensure that the major is something you want to spend three to four years’ time and money pursuing.
7. Consider Future Careers and Earning Potential
Most majors have career path opportunities attached, but this is definitely something to explore. You need to spend your time, energy, and money pursuing an education that will translate into a paying job in the future. As you explore career options, don’t forget to explore earning potential of those careers. Make sure that the career you are pursuing not only lets you follow your passions, but also gives you enough potential income to pay your future bills.
8. Talk to Others About Their Majors
Discuss major choices with others you know who are in college or recently finished college. Ask them what they do or do not like about their major, how they chose, and what they would do differently if they were at your stage in the decision-making process.
Choose people to talk to that have similar career goals as you do, so you can get solid advice about that field and how it might relate to you and your passions.
As you are considering your options for a major, reach out to the admissions team at Post University. We have a long list of undergraduate degree programs you can look at to determine the right fit for your needs. Our admission team will connect you with advisors and other faculty members that can help you consider your options.
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Please note jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries expected from any Post program. To learn more about Post’s program and their outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions representative.