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Choosing a major in college

A Guide to Choosing a College Major

Choosing a major in college can be incredibly overwhelming. The number of choices that are available in colleges. What you need to realize is that a major is not a life-long sentence that you have to stick to forever. Majors are helpful in landing you your first job after graduation, but studies have shown that most people will change their careers several times.

Some majors can prepare a student for a range of careers, while others like accounting, engineering and nursing, are specific.

It is important to make the right choice of a major. The more comfortable you are with it, the more prepared you’ll be for success in the classroom.


Where to Get Assistance in Choosing a major in college

  • College career center: Here you will get professional services to help you explore your interests, discover paths to opportunities and prepare you for employment. You will be given personalized career guidance.
  • Family and friends: Within family and among friends, there is a lot of guidance you can get.
  • Academic and peer advisers: These are selected students who assist fresh and transfer students in their academic transition. They help students pick classes and majors that suit their interests.
  • Your professors: Just carry the college majors list with you to your professors office and request to talk to them. They will listen to you.
  • College course catalogue
  • Your classmates; especially those ahead of you in college.


Armed with all the advice you will have received, the final decision still lies with you. Even the most well-meaning parents and counselors can complicate your situation by placing their own values and beliefs before yours.


Choosing a Major in College; Things to Consider

There are various things that you should consider before choosing a major in college…

  1. Your abilities: It would be torturous to choose a program that relies on your weaker abilities. Choose a major that highlights your best academic traits. For instance, if you are good in maths, consider studying engineering.
  2. Your values: Your major will determine the job you will eventually do. You will therefore need to examine what you value as a person and under what circumstances you can work. Can you work under pressure? Would you rather work alone than in a group? Is being in the field your preference, or is it in the lab? Would you rather work seated the whole day or being out and about is more enticing?
  3. Your personality: If you are an extrovert, you can do very well in a business school. If you are the type that likes following directions, lab work would be good for you.
  4. Your interests: Even your choice of reading materials can give you a clue on what you would want to major in. You can also trace your interest to what you spend most of your free time on, and what gives you the most pleasure when engaging in. It’ll be natural to develop a passion for what interests you.
  5. Your dream job: The career path you want to take should be a main consideration when choosing a major in college.
  6. Your expectations: How much you hope to earn can determine your choice of major. How long you will need to be employed or whether you will want to work at your own job.
  7. Your strengths: Evaluate yourself and know what you can and what you cannot do.
  8. What matters to you: Is it money, or the need to undertake research activities. Is it the desire to create something?
  9. Job availability: Find out if there’s an active job market for the major you choose to pursue.

After research and self assessment, narrow down your options until you are comfortable with your choice. Selecting a major however is not an irreversible decision. It’s possible to change a major one or more time after enrolling in college. There are times when meeting new people, getting fresh ideas and being introduced to new subjects could dramatically change your interest.


             Mistakes to Avoid

  • Choosing for money: money is not everything, and if so, then a choice of a major should not entirely be tagged to it.
  • Following peers in their choice: Your friends and you have different drives and motivations, different social networks and different interests. These differences will only get more profound as you proceed through college. This means that you will eventually drift away completely from each other. Allow yourself to pursue your own interests even if it means making new friends. It will be worth it in the end.
  • Staying for too long before deciding on a major: It’s advisable to explore your options for a while but taking too long at it can be a sign of indecision. It will be a waste of both time and resources.
  • Choosing a major in college based on fantasies: Getting inspiration from movies, games, cartoons and fiction books is not bad. But it’s good to realize that the real world does not function that way. It takes serious business to create non serious stuff.
  • Choosing double majors without the proper motivation: Most students take double majors assuming that it will be impressive on their resume. But if the two majors are not complementing each other, the effort will not be worth it.
  • Choosing a major in college for the love of the topic. The career you choose should fit into your lifestyle not the other way round.
  • Choosing out of influence: Be your own person because in the end, it comes down to you.
  • Failure to do proper research on the major: Getting into a major without knowing exactly what it involves can give you surprises.
  • Letting skills that come naturally to you determine your major. For example, if you have been playing piano since you were a child, taking a piano major would be tempting. But you could easily get bored studying something that you already know. Picking a more challenging major would be more fulfilling.

At times schools might have choosing a major in college quiz or choosing a major in college essay. This is to test your knowledge on what majors you feel comfortable with.

You won’t know what you settled for until you are on the job or on internship. Spending time with someone who is already doing what you are training for can give you a feel of what to expect. This can give you an idea of whether you can continue to explore it as an option.

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Category: Blog