how to choose a college major

How to Choose a College Major

Choosing a major is probably the most challenging part of transitioning from high school to college. There are too many factors to consider and too many advice to take account of. You are lucky if you have already figured out what you want to take before college admissions begin. But for others who are still confused, let us clarify that it is okay to feel that way. You have to take your time to decide and learn how to choose a college major that suits you.

Many students choose a major for the wrong reasons, and we don’t want you to take the same path. As much as possible, read this guide entirely because it contains handy tips and advice on choosing a suitable major and getting into your dream college.

Difference between a major and a minor

A major is your subject area of specialization in college, and most of the courses you will take are related to it. Meanwhile, a minor is just a secondary field; you have the option to take alongside your major. It has fewer courses, and it is not required most of the time.

Tips on how to choose a college major

As we have mentioned in the introduction, this article will serve as your all in one guide on how to choose a major. Let’s start with some of the tips you can follow to decide before the admission season begins.

Tip 1: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

All stages of transfer from a high school to college are rather challenging and stressful. From researching your options and defining the right specialization to writing an admission essay – you may feel the need for help at any of these stages. And it is vital that you are not afraid to get it!

Here is one thing you should know – successful people are never afraid to ask for help! Therefore, whenever you feel the need for any sort of assistance – go for it. Whether it is the help of a professional essay writer with your admission essay or the assistance of a career advisor, do not be afraid to ask!

Tip 2: Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses

Aside from your interest, you should also take into consideration the activities that you excel at. For instance, if you’re good at public speaking and you love teaching others, pursue Secondary Education. If you’re good in numbers and you have a good SAT Math score, take Mathematics. The best college majors are those that you are good at. It’s that simple.

Tip 3: Think about the future

Some students forget that their major can have a significant impact on their lives after college. They are so focused on the now that they have failed to make a decision that considers their future. Well, you don’t want to make the same mistake, do you? Here are some critical questions you should ask yourself in deciding what to major on.

1. Will you find your major enjoyable years from now?

2. Will it still be around after several years?

3. Will it pay you enough?

Tip 4: Do not rush yourself

Relax! Don’t stress over asking yourself “what major is right for me?” In fact, a lot of colleges do not expect you to choose a major until the end of sophomore year. That means you can still discover what you are meant to major in while taking your general subjects. Maybe you can sit in some major classes to learn what’s really for you.

Tip 5: Figure out what you like doing

This is perhaps the most essential tip in this list. If you are asking yourself “what major should I choose?” the number one thing you have to consider is your interest. Do not force yourself to do something that you do not find enjoyable. Start with listing down the things you love doing inside and outside the school and analyze the pattern. Let’s say you like participating in read-aloud activities for children in your community, and you are a freelance writer who knows how to write good essays. Maybe, Literature is the right major for you.

Tip 6: Weigh the pros and cons of taking a particular major

Other students find it hard to pick a major because they like and excel in two or three fields simultaneously. If this is the case, it would be best to make a list of each major’s pros and cons. It would also help to search which among your options are in demand and which is more employable.

Tip 7: Research a lot

Before settling into a major, research a lot about it. Look at the courses you are going to take. Figure out if it is a pays enough and if the success rate is reasonable. Find colleges and universities and compare their offerings. Basically, look into every single detail about it. This will motivate or demotivate you, but that is precisely the point.

Mistakes to avoid in choosing a major

Surely, you do not want to end up hating your life because you choose the wrong major. So we prepared a list of common mistakes students commit when deciding. Avoid all of these at all costs!

1. Choosing a major which is solely based on income

We know that during this time, you have to be practical. But choosing a major that is entirely based on the salary you are going to receive after college is not a good choice. It will only stress you out in the long run. 

2. Getting easily influenced by authorities

Following your teacher’s advice on how to get a scholarship for a high school senior is useful. But if she said that the major you like is difficult and you should not pursue it, that’s a totally different story. If you would accept every people’s opinion, you won’t end up happy or successful. Consider their advice but decide for yourself, not to please them.

3. Choosing a major because your friend said so

This is a very childish thing to do, but you’ll be surprised that many students actually major in something because their friends told them to do so. Here’s the thing, if you take their advice and follow them in the major they are taking, you won’t grow. Besides, you and your friends are really meant to grow apart sometimes. If you have a stable relationship, you do not have to worry because you’ll still click even after not seeing each other for a while.

4. Taking a double major with no good reason

Take a double major only if you can and only if you are interested. Don’t take an extra major if you just want your resume to look good. There are other ways to do that other than forcing yourself to do something you don’t like. 

Myths about choosing a college major

There are three common myths related to choosing the best college majors that we would like to debunk. They are the following:

1. STEM-related majors will help you earn more

This myth about majoring in STEM may be true for some but definitely not for everyone. In fact, there are a lot of English and History majors that are gaining a more significant amount than engineers and accountants. 

2. Choosing a major matters more than choosing a college

These two are equally important. If you select a suitable major for you, but you did not enroll in a college specializing in it, you won’t really be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills. Similarly, if you choose a good college, but you failed to pick a major that you know you would excel in, you’ll find it hard to succeed unless you will persevere.

3. Taking Liberal Arts means that you will be unemployable

This is an amusing assumption. Employers these days already consider those who can offer them a multitude of skills, and most Liberal Arts students possess that. In fact, you can now see someone who majored in philosophy who is working and finance and marketing.

What to do if you can’t decide on a college major?

What if you still can’t think of a major after spending a lot of time weighing your options and seeking others’ advice? Well, do not stress yourself. Here are four things you can do if you do not know how to choose a college major:

1. Gain experience

To gain experience that will help you decide on your major, you can volunteer and find internships in your community. You can also join activities not related to the major you are interested in to find out if you can succeed.

2. Visit colleges and attend events

Attending events and visiting the campus is one great way to help you choose your major. Colleges usually have open houses where you can ask the representatives about specific questions regarding that major.

3. Enter college undecided

As we have mentioned in another section, it is okay to enter college undecided because it is only at the end of sophomore year when asked what you want to pursue. Two years is a lot of time to figure out your major so do not feel pressured.

4. Take a gap year

You can always choose to take a gap year if you do not know how to choose a college major. Just make sure that you use your time away from school in meaningful activities to help you decide.

Is it possible to change majors?

Of course, it is possible to change majors. Some schools even encourage this, especially if you aren’t excelling in what you have chosen. Many students do this because they realize that their major is not really for them, and it is totally okay. Just make sure that before making this decision, the units you have taken will be credited. Go to your counselor and inform him regarding your decision. He’ll be responsible for setting you up in a new schedule.

Conclusion

Choosing a major in college is not easy. You have to consider a lot of things, especially your future. If you are having difficulty in deciding, remember that you do not have to rush. There are also a lot of people who are willing to help you. We at Student-tutor firmly believe that you will succeed once you follow all the tips we have included in this blog.

To recap, here are the tips on how to choose a college major:

Tip 1: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

Tip 2: Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses

Tip 3: Think about the future

  • Will you find your major enjoyable years from now?
  • Will it still be around after several years?
  • Will it pay you enough?

Tip 4: Do not rush yourself

Tip 5: Figure out what you like doing

  • Open up to your parents
  • Talk to your friends
  • Seek the advice of a career advisor

Tip 6: Weigh the pros and cons of taking a particular major

Tip 7: Research a lot

Meanwhile, here are the common mistakes to avoid in choosing a major

1. Choosing a major which is solely based on income

2. Getting easily influenced by authorities

3. Choosing a major because your friend said so

4. Taking a double major with no good reason

3 Myths about choosing a college major

1. STEM-related majors will help you earn more

2. Choosing a major matters more than choosing a college

3. Taking Liberal Arts means that you will be unemployable

4 What to do if you can’t decide on a college major?

1. Gain experience

2. Visit colleges and attend events

3. Enter college undecided

Did we miss any tips on how to choose a college major? Comment it down below.

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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Hello! My name is Todd. I help students design the life of their dreams by ensuring college, scholarship, and career success! I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, host of a career exploration podcast for teens, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. I invite you to join my next webinar to learn how to save thousands + set your teenager up for college, scholarship, and career success!
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