Choosing a college major is a daunting task. Take comfort in knowing that the major listed on your application is not set in stone. It’s perfectly acceptable to be “undecided” or choose a major once you’ve started classes. Here are some tips to finding a major that is right for you!
Shadow professionals in a few potential careers
Shadowing allows you to see the day-to-day reality of any given profession. Use shadowing as an opportunity to envision yourself working that position. Does it feel like the right fit? If you are in high school, your school counselor may be able to help you with finding these opportunities. When shadowing, be sure to ask questions and receive recommendations from those you are learning from!
Visit your college career center
The career center provides helpful resources such as aptitude tests that reveal majors and careers that may be a good fit for you. Many of these tests are based on your values, skillsets, and passions.
Consider the timing
Typically, students will make a final decision about their major during their second year of college. However, each college and program is going to be a little different. For many colleges, your first year revolves around “general education” courses that fulfill requirements in science, history, world language, math, and art. This gives you some flexibility and time to explore different paths. Your decision process may be sped up if you come in with college credits from AP courses or dual enrollment. You may also need to decide sooner if you’re choosing a program that requires special admission criteria or a separate application. This includes auditioning for music or submitting an engineering application.
Know there are many paths within each major
There comes a point in time when you have to fully commit to your major. So what should you do if your initial spark of enthusiasm begins to fade? Explore the different paths your major provides. You may have envisioned yourself doing one and discover a completely different path. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, people change career fields two or three times in their lives. Focus on the transferable skills that are valuable to any field you decide to pursue.