Major Selection: Combine Your Passions and Your College Major
Despite Being Such A Critical Decision, Major Selection Eludes Many Students…
Selecting the right college major is an enormous task that every student faces, and students are faced with an overwhelming amount of options when choosing a major. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Education, 30% of undergraduates in 2017 with a declared major had already changed their major at least one time. Thankfully, there is a process that students can follow to find the right major for their passions, skills, and future goals.
WHAT YOU’LL FIND IN THIS ARTICLE
- What are College Majors?
- Why Choosing the Right Major Matters
- When Should You Choose a College Major?
- Your 5 Step Game Plan for Choosing a College Major
- Exploration Leads to The Right College Major
What Are College Majors?
A college major refers to an area of academic focus, usually referring specifically to a four-year Bachelor’s degree program. Generally, students declare their major before the end of their sophomore year. A majority of the courses that a student takes will relate to their college major.
Examples of common college majors include:
- Computer science
- Political science
College majors are designed to help foster the skills and knowledge a student needs for a career in the same field as their major. For instance, computer science majors will spend time learning various programming languages or database management skills that can help prepare them for a variety of different jobs in web development, computer software, and other information technology sectors.
However, college majors are more than just career boot camp. Some majors are designed solely around the pursuit of knowledge, and many colleges carefully consider the balance between the search for knowledge and career preparation when designing their college majors.
Why Choosing The Right Major Matters
As we’ve touched upon already, college majors are designed to help your prepare for a job in that same field. Ideally, college graduates will gain employment in a career related to their college major. This natural progression from college major to future career is why it’s essential to spend time considering the right college major for you.
However, the importance of your major selection goes beyond securing your dream job.
Your choice of college major colors your entire college experience. When English majors have issues with essays and research, they talk to professors and advisors from the school’s English department, and they have brainstorming sessions over lunch with their fellow English majors. The right college major will help you connect with a built-in support system of like-minded individuals all working toward the same intellectual pursuits.
Yet colleges recognize that no two students are the same. Students who find their interests pulled in multiple directions can find a solution by double majoring. Some colleges go even further by allowing students to design their majors to be unique to their personal interests.
When Should You Choose A College Major?
Ideally, you should make your college major selection as early as possible. After all, creating a clear plan for your future and sticking to it will give you the most significant head start in your career.
High school students can begin researching college majors and scoping out future careers through internships and job shadowing, and students interested in careers that require specific college majors can spend time researching which college would be right for them. This can help you feel more confident in your final major selection.
By comparison, students who head into college with an undecided major will take longer to feel at home at their new school and confident in their future. While many college applications ask you to indicate your desired major, most colleges do not require that students declare a major until their sophomore year, though it’s still strongly recommended to declare a major sooner rather than later.
Your 5 Step Game Plan For Choosing A College Major
Many factors will come into play when you sit down to choose your college major. Fortunately, students who factor their skills and passions into their major selection can more clearly see which major aligns with their future goals.
#1 DISCOVER YOUR PASSIONS
We’ve all heard the saying, “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” If you make your college major selection with this thought in mind, you’ll set yourself up for a more enjoyable college experience.
What are your passions? How can those passions be translated into the pursuit of knowledge? Does your love of weird and wacky stories lend itself to pursuing a degree in journalism? Can your love for basketball turn into a passion for sports medicine?
While it may not always be possible to match your passions to an exact college major, you should make it your mission to explore majors that are related to things you already enjoy doing. College is an excellent time to nurture your values and passions into lifelong assets.
#2 EXPLORE YOUR SKILLS
Your current skill set makes a great starting point for exploring potential college majors. Skills such as writing and math can be beneficial in a wide variety of degrees. However, it’s also understandable that a math whiz may not be eager to enter a major filled with more math, no matter how good they are at exponential equations.
Instead, you should use your skillset as a roadmap for which college majors you’ll be able to do reasonably well in academically. For example, it’s advantageous to be good at writing while pursuing a degree in communications. Students who struggled with their writing and English skills throughout high school may not want to commit to a major where those skills are essential.
Keep in mind, however, that college is an excellent time to develop new or underused skills. While it can be beneficial to already be skilled in the subject of your major, don’t count a major out because you’ve never had hands-on experience with the subject before. Be willing to explore new skills as you research your options.
#3 DEFINE YOUR GOALS
Students who attend college generally have a set of goals they’d like to accomplish, even if they never explicitly define these goals. There are a variety of reasons why you might enroll in college: to set yourself up for a stable financial future, to broaden your horizons among like-minded peers, or to pursue an academic passion.
Defining your long-term academic and career goals goes a long way toward helping you make your major selection with confidence.
When defining your goals, it’s helpful to ask yourself questions, such as:
- Does my ideal career require a certain degree or another type of education?
- Concerning my future career, what is most important to me? Job stability, earning potential, ability to relocate, or potential for advancement?
- Do I see myself pursuing further education beyond my Bachelor’s degree?
- What difference do I want to make in my own life or in the lives of others?
#4 TALK TO OTHERS
There are benefits to talking to others about which college majors you’re considering. Your family and friends can help you determine which majors are the best fit for you by helping you identify your skills and talents. You might even be able to connect with alumni from your highschool to see what majors they pursued and the careers they ended up in.
The more help you have in searching for the right school and the right major, the better. With thousands of colleges across the country, there are more degree options than ever. Your inner circle can help you find that super-specific major that fits you perfectly, such as one of these unusual majors:
- Ethical hacking
- Packaging science
- Digital currency
- Medicinal plant chemistry
You might also benefit from bringing on an experienced WeAdmit college counselor during your major selection process. An expert in the field of college admissions is invaluable when comparing your major options at schools across the country.
#5 MAKE THE CHOICE
Eventually, you have to make a major selection. The right major for you is one that you’re happy with when you look at the bigger picture and consider both the financial and educational returns. Go beyond focusing solely on potential future earnings and consider your passions when making your final decisions.
Finally, once you’ve selected your major, be confident with your choice. Commit to your major and the path you’ve chosen. If you ever find that a different path would be a better fit for you, you can always change your major later. However, keep in mind that not all your courses will count toward your new major’s requirements.
Exploration Leads To The Right College Major
Students who take the time to explore their options and consider their own best interests can make their major selection with confidence. While it may not be possible to find a major that speaks to all your interests and skills, there are still a plethora of options to choose from. The right major for you is one that allows you to both enjoy your college years and see them as a solid investment in your future.
Fortunately, WeAdmit counselors know that picking your college major can be stressful, so we’re here to help you simplify the entire college admissions process. Our experts can help guide students toward majors and specific college programs that speak to their interests and aptitudes. Our guidance is designed to help students reach their full potential when applying for college as well as create a plan to harness that potential during and after their college years.
So, Let’s Discover Our Passions And Make Our College Major Selection!
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