Choosing a major is one of the biggest — and for some, the most stressful — decisions you can make as a college student, and for good reason. You are spending four years getting a degree in whatever field you choose, so the pressure to choose the right one can be overwhelming. There also seems to be a whole list of factors to consider, from what will help you earn a living to what you are most passionate about. Add in all of the input from peers, parents, and advisors, and it’s no wonder that making this decision is so difficult.
The good news is there are plenty of resources out there to help you make this decision. Some of the most valuable resources are experts in the field of post-secondary education, who have helped thousands of students through this exact situation.
What To Consider When Choosing A Major
One of the biggest things to consider when choosing a major is very simple — what are you interested in? “A student should follow their heart in choosing a major. A successful future in that field will follow,” advises Susan Packer Davis, an expert in college application review.
Michelle McAnaney, founder of The College Spy, offers similar advice. “Students should focus on their interests when choosing a major. They should also consider what their next steps are after graduation.” It’s important to think about both your current interests and future plans when making this decision.
What It Means To Be Undecided On Your Major
If you’re entering college without a major, don’t worry — according to Central College, 75% of college students either enter school undecided or end up changing their major. Still, it can be anxiety-inducing, and there are some risks for going in undecided.
Tiffany Green, founder of Uprooted Academy, shares her thoughts on entering college undecided: “You will feel much more freedom to take courses that make you excited to learn if you are undecided.” She does mention the risk of potentially adding an additional year of school, but recommends you check with your academic advisor to see what works for you.
Having the benefit of time to explore different majors sometimes isn’t the case. If you’ve got a deadline to choose a major coming up, “Go visit your academic advisor,” says admissions consulting expert Anna Ivey. “Talk to your professors. Talk to students in three majors you’re considering. Have honest conversations, with them and with yourself.” The decision is ultimately up to you, but working through your options with others can be extremely helpful.
Additionally, Green suggests reaching out to professionals in the fields that interest you. “Shadow different professions, do some informational interviews, or grab an internship,” she says.
What To Do If You Don’t Like Your Major
When all is said and done, it’s also possible you won’t be super satisfied with your major, and you may want to change it. “It’s normal, and even expected by the college!” says McAnaney about students changing their majors. Changing your field of study can be daunting, but you’re not alone!
There are many resources at your school that can help you as well. “Meet with your academic advisor as soon as possible,” advises Ivey. Reaching out to professors and advisors can help ease the transition from one major to another.
Ultimately, choosing your major may come down to some trial and error, and that’s perfectly fine. The most important thing is choosing something that you feel happy with, and that may take a few tries to get right.