How to Decide on Your Major
- Don’t let your parents (or anybody else) dictate what your major should be. It’s good to get advice from as many people as possible, but when push comes to shove, it’s your life, not theirs. Take control and do what you want.
- The people who make the biggest difference in the world are the people who love what they do. Pick something not because of money or prestige alone, but because you love it. If you do what you love then you will be willing to work far harder than others in the field.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask for experience from people you know and maybe some you don’t quite as well.
- Remember that most colleges and universities allow you to change your major multiple times during the course of your education. While you certainly don’t want to rely on this option, it can take some of the pressure off and allow you to explore options.
- Don’t put off your decision until the last minute. Most colleges give you a year or two to declare a major. If you have a hard time deciding, go ahead and take as much time as you can, but start thinking about your choice at the beginning of your freshman year–or before. College is hard work (and a lot of fun), and it’s easy to get caught up in your day-to-day routine, but you can avoid a lot of the stress of choosing a major by exploring your options in advance.
- Look to your role models for advice. Is there somebody you look up to who has your dream job? Set up a meeting with this person to ask their advice. If you don’t know this person, then do some research to see how they go where they are now.
- Your chosen major won’t always “lead” to your ultimate career. You might find yourself using your college experience as background but working in another area that you like or love and can do well. Your degree may be more (or less) valuable to your employer, depending on the significance of your major to the work. A trained engineer had to major in engineering, but a marketing or customer service type of career can accommodate various college backgrounds. Furthermore, medical schools, law schools and some other graduate programs frequently do not require certain bachelor degrees so long as the applicant can pass the graduate entrance exam and has taken some related courses. Despite what you may hear, your choice of major probably won’t make or break careers that are not “by-the-book” nor requiring an advanced degree. Some employers do on-the-job-training and seek college graduates simply because they can choose applicants who are literate, persistent, possess self-control, can be trained and can grow into their career environment.