Your Complete Guide to How to Choose a Major in College

You hear it every time someone introduces themselves. “Hi, my name is ____, and I am a _____ major.” Having a major is inextricably linked with being in college. It seems like everyone is simply decided on their major the second they step onto their college campus. Are you the only one who is confused about the difference between Computer Science and Data Science? Are you the only one terrified at making such a life-changing decision? Definitely not.

    Contrary to popular belief, not everyone comes into their university career knowing exactly what they want to focus their studies on. Because UC Berkeley offers 100+ academic majors, it can be a daunting task to choose just one. Some people do know exactly what to major in in college before they even start high school. However, most people don’t, so if you have no idea what you want to concentrate on, DO NOT PANIC! Here are few tips on how to narrow down your school’s never-ending list of majors and focus on something that you truly love:

  • Consider Your Interests: What is it that you truly love to do? If you love to do something, why not learn more about it? This also doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to major in your single, true passion. Most people have various areas of interest that they could see themselves pursuing. Think about your favorite things to do or take part in.

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  • Take Courses in a Particular Subject: A great way to see if a major is a good fit for you is to take some pre-requisite courses for that major. Are you considering a Psychology major? Take a Intro to Psych course. There is no better way to see how you really feel about something than to dive right in and see for yourself. You never know until you try it.
  • Ask Around: It’s one things to read about the pros and cons of an Engineering degree from the Internet, but speaking with someone who studied the major you are interested in offers an entirely new perspective. If you’re interested in learning more about what pursuing a Chemical Engineering major at UC Berkeley, talk to someone who is doing just that. They can speak to their experience in that major and how they knew it was right for them. Plus, if you end up deciding on that major, they can give you advice on courses to take and how to study!

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  • Consider a Double-Major or Minor: Are your interests so multifaceted that you can’t choose just one major? Double-majoring is a great choice for someone who wants to master more than a single subject. While it is important to possess a sort of focus in life, double-majoring can be a great way to discover new opportunities and explore additional possibilities. Moreover, a minor is a great option for someone who wants to explore more of a particular passion. A major allows you the freedom of having a broad scope of knowledge and a minor offers a focus on something you love.

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  • Realize that a Major Does NOT Define You: So many people equate their major with their career. Choosing a major is essentially restricting your life to one single future career path, right? WRONG! A major is something that can be changed over and over again. Almost everyone switches their major at some point in their college career. Even once you decide on a major, it does NOT define your entire life. People with a chemical engineering degree end up being television producers or a law student ends up teaching at a university. Things change. Interests shift. Choosing a major is an important decision, but don’t stress over it. Your major is a part of you, but it does NOT define you.