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Here’s How To Figure Out Your College Major, According To Experts

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.

Jordyn Stapleton has been a National Lifestyle Writer for Her Campus since February 2023. She covers a variety of topics in her articles, but is most passionate about writing about mental health and social justice issues. Jordyn graduated from CU Boulder in December 2022 with Bachelor’s degrees in music and psychology with a minor in gender studies and a certificate in public health. Jordyn was involved in Her Campus during college, serving as an Editorial Assistant and later Editor-in-Chief for the CU Boulder chapter. She has also worked as a freelance stringer for the Associated Press. Jordyn is currently taking a gap year and working at a local business in Boulder, with hopes of attending graduate school in fall 2024. Jordyn enjoys reading, bullet journalling, and listening to (preferably Taylor Swift) music in her free time. If she isn’t brainstorming her next article, you can usually find her exploring coffee shops or hiking trails around Boulder with her friends.