Choosing a major might be easy for some, but what you might find once you enter college is that the options are are often limitless. Here are five tips to help you choose a major with minimal stress:
1. Do some serious introspection and ask yourself some questions. What were your favorite classes in high school? What were your favorite hobbies and activities? What interested you most in your spare time? Do you get up early on Sunday mornings to watch political talk shows? Did you devote yourself to the high school yearbook staff or to bettering your skills at the French horn? Did you enjoy discussions in your high school English classes? Did you love watching unknown independent films? Consider not only your interests but your talents, ambitions, and motivation.
2. Start brainstorming options. The things you love—these are all areas that have the potential to become your future major. Enjoyed student government or debate? Think about majors in political science or speech communication. Loved to read? Think about English. Good at math? You could major in math—or finance or accounting. Enjoyed singing? Music, Music Education, or Vocal Performance are all great options.
3. Understand the complicated relationship between majors and jobs. Choosing a major does not lock you into one career. Many college students think they should choose a “practical” major, such as engineering, law, medicine, computer science or business because other majors like history, art, music hold little or no career options – however, this is a common misperception. If you’re interested in a particular major, don’t pass it up because you think it holds no future for you. History majors can end up as stockbrokers, and biology majors can end up as engineers – proof that any major can prepare you for different career options. We know it’s a cliché, but do what you love and the money will follow.
4. Sample different general education courses that interest you. If you’re still not sure which direction to go in, use your first two years of college to satisfy your Gen Ed requirements and sample different areas of study. There are so many options open to you, so take a few electives that sound interesting – hey, they could lead you to find a subject you never knew you loved!
5. Keep your options open. If you love movies, don’t rule out cinema studies as a major because you think you can’t get a career in it. Also, remember that the average college student changes their major twice, and changing your major is not the end of the world. Most colleges don’t require you to declare a major till the end of your sophomore year (which you can always change — we know we did!) , so you have plenty of time to think about it, discover what you love, take some introductory courses, and consider all your options before settling down on a major you love.