How to Choose the Right Major

A very small percentage of students actually know exactly what they want to be doing when they graduate. According to the DailyPrincetonian, almost 70% of college students change their major after enrollment. That is to say that most students aren’t sure about their first choice of a major.

Although the indecisiveness is common, it shouldn’t happen. Why? The incorrect choice will not only make you miserable for the remaining years of your program, but also land you either unemployed or in a career you never wanted to be in.

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No reason to fret.

Alright, we know it is easier said than done. Let’s just say that if you are already thinking about this before you have decided, you are one step forward towards the right direction. Here’s what you need to be doing to keep moving forward — or taking U-turns at just the right time.

  • Test Yourself First: The first step is you ask yourself questions before you can approach anyone else with your problem. It is extremely important to realize your own needs, wants, and interests first. Choosing a major will evidently lead you to choosing your career. And choosing a career is like choosing a life partner — jokes apart. Your final decision has to be based on what you want and are willing to live with. Here are a few questions that might help you sort out your area of interest.
  • Would I like to work alone, or in an environment full of people?
  • What are my strengths and weakness?
  • Which subject(s) in school did I enjoy studying the most and also received excellent grades in?
  • How do people see me? (Leader, cool-headed, generous, flexible)?
  • What are my strongest talents and skills? Do they align with the career I am interested in?
  • Would I prefer the 9 to 5 type of routine work? Or a schedule that varies? Would I mind traveling or working longer shifts?
  • What is the scope of the career I am interested in? How many of these jobs are available? What kind of salary do these people most probably receive?
  • How will I pay off my student loan debt (if any)?
  • What is my desired lifestyle?
  • Plus, would I be able to do my coursework on this subject?
  • Ask People Around: The next step is to get advice. You won’t have all the answers you need to determine which career choice is the best for you just yet. Many students visit their high school career counselor to ask for advice and current prospects of a certain profession. Career counselors deal with “careers” everyday and have a lot of information on current trends, possible choices, and even examples of students who have pursued various careers in the past.

Take a college major choicequix or career choice quiz online Visit the US Department of Labor Statistics website to discover the most recent figures related to a profession (average annual salary, job outlook, qualifications required, etc).

Talk to professors who teach that major and ask them what they think about the field and the type of “recruits” it needs.   You can also explore your list of contacts (family, friends, relatives, University alumni) and ask someone who has experience with the area of study as well as career.

  • Try it Out: Remember that you always have the opportunity to change your major. Sometimes, students need to take a few classes and meet with a few professionals in the area to finally decide on a major. The trial and error method won’t hurt and curiosity won’t kill you. It is no wonder 70% of college students change their major during their freshman year!