Selecting a college major is an important decision. Often your career success depends on the choice of your major. Unfortunately, many students look back on their college major selection process and time and lament their wrong decision. Often it is because they realize it was not what they wanted to do in their life after some time. This is often why almost two-thirds of graduated college students change their major not twice but thrive before they graduate, which means they make the wrong decision more than once.
In some cases, you have the chance to change your major and transfer to another department. Whereas, in other cases, there is none. You are stuck with it for the rest of your life if you don’t readmit to another major next year. But it means wasting your time. So, what is the best way to choose your college major that eliminates all possibilities of regret later on? There must be criteria that you can follow to choose the right major and not falter in the most critical decision of your academic life?
Read on to learn some tips that can help you in this process.
- Don’t choose your major right after entering the college
Students are under immense pressure from their friends and family to declare their major. Making a hasty decision under pressure and stress is one reason for making the wrong decision. For instance, you might be interested in becoming a flight controls engineer since you were a kid but made a hasty decision under pressure to choose business? When you choose your major right after entering the college and declare it on the enrollment form, you often make an anxious and insure decision.
The best approach is to keep the major undeclared. In all colleges, you are required to get some general education and get introduced to various courses before you graduate with one major. This is a critical time to know what you want to do in your life. There is a high chance that during these general courses, you stumble upon a major or field that you would want to know about more. So take this chance to dig deeper and gather all the relevant information.
- Educate yourself about all majors available in your field
Every institute offers a limited number of majors under a degree program. You have to know about all these options and compare them with one another. The main criteria are your interest in the field, but other factors can be job prospects, pay scale, career advancement opportunities, demand in the job market, and the like. Once you have jotted down all the points related to each major, give them scores and see the aggregate score for each major. Remember, your decision should incorporate practical aspects such as ease of finding the job and the scope of the field, along with your penchant for a particular area.
- Consider the subjects that interest you
Under each major, you have to complete a list of specialization courses. Consider those courses, do you have interest in them, would you like to know about more them. For instance, if you develop a liking for marketing, you will have to study consumer behavior, branding, market research, etc. Give a thought to these courses before choosing. You will probably be working in one of these areas in the future. By aligning your interest with the choice of major, you can enjoy your time learning those courses. You will also make rich friendships with like-minded people and develop professional networks from the outset.
- Talk to people with the same interest
Once you have stumbled upon an area you may want to adopt as your major, talk to people working in that field. You can engage with your seniors or discuss with your mentors. The best way is to engage with the faculty related to the major. Meet them and talk about their department. Ask them what you will study and how it will shape your career. The more informed you are, the easier it becomes to shortlist options.
There are forums where people with the same wavelength and interests have discussions and regular meet-ups. Join those online forums and put forward your queries. Professionals on these forums belong to various backgrounds and countries. They can help you understand the scope of your field or what makes it better or worse than others.
- Don’t ignore your passion
Your passion can be a driving force in deciding your major. Your major should take you closer to fulfilling your passion. For example, some people have a passion for helping others and having a better salary and job; others have a passion for teaching. Yet many people prefer to choose fields where their extrovert or introvert natures feel comfortable. Your passion energizes your work and life, and you can be much happier. There are options for people with a passion for helping others to go into healthcare, social work, firefighting, etc., and help those in distress and pain.
- Consider the Work setting
Work setting is also an important criterion. Some people want to work in a government setting; others aspire to work in NGOs or private organizations. Choose a major that opens up chances to work in these settings. Some majors are specially designed to help graduates work in public organizations; public administration is one major. Though you can work in private organizations, more focus is on public policy, public management, policymaking, governance, etc.
- Consider your strengths
College is more challenging than high school. You will need to spend more time understanding complex concepts. You must expect it to challenge your abilities and strengths. Therefore, if you choose a field that helps you use your strengths, going through this time can be much easier. For example, some people are good with public speaking, presentation skills, and working around people. Choose a major that will ultimately help your public speaking and present your ideas to a larger audience. You will find that your college major is more enjoyable if it aligns with your strengths.
Choosing a major is tiring and thought-provoking, and why should not it be. This one decision can impact the rest of your academic and professional life. Therefore, consider all the aspects, your strengths, and interests, and meet people before deciding. There is no need to make a hasty and wrong decision. Most students have one year to choose, so use your time wisely.