6 Tips to Choose the Right College Major

college student majorChoosing the right major in college is a very important decision, and one that should not be taken lightly. However, by putting too much pressure on yourself, you may end up making a hasty and incorrect choice. If you do your homework, take a close look at yourself, and check all available options, you’re more likely to select a major that will offer you long-term happiness and financial benefits.

1. Choose Something You Will Enjoy
Choosing to focus on a subject that you enjoy is the most important factor in determining your major. Becoming mired in a career for which you have no passion is an unenviable position – you can make all the money in the world, but if you’re not happy with your work, you’ll never be satisfied.

2. Evaluate Yourself
A wealth of online quizzes and evaluations are available to help uncover your strengths and talents. While you may think you know yourself, these tools can often identify hidden skills and reveal intriguing career paths to consider. Usually, when taking such quizzes, you can choose only one response for each question. If you feel that you could have chosen more than one answer for one or more questions, simply re-take the test to get a more comprehensive picture of your abilities.

3. Ask Friends and Family
When attempting to choose a major, you don’t need to place the entire decision solely on yourself – ask your friends and family what industry they think you’d perform well in. Often, you’ll be surprised at what they tell you. People that are close to you can offer an unbiased and objective opinion as to what career in which you could potentially excel.

4. Research
There are literally hundreds of choices available to you to major in, so it can be tough to narrow them down to a select few. But once you’ve got a good idea as to where you think you could be successful, fully investigate each industry. Research job descriptions, average starting salaries, advancement potential, and what the future job prospects are for each industry. Even if you think you’ve found the perfect major that could lead to a dream career, you could instead have a big problem if nobody is hiring.

5. Intern
By interning, you will receive an in-depth look at the industry in which you are considering entering, while establishing contacts with professionals in the field, which will be helpful when it comes time to look for a job. Both paid and unpaid options exist, and many will earn you academic credits. If you remain “undeclared” during your first semester or two of college, an internship during your first summer break could help point you in the right direction.

6. Take Your Time
Rather than having your mind set before attending your first class, you can always simply wait. Most core curricula at universities are similar in nature for the first year or two, so you do not need to commit to a major until you start your third year.

Start by attending core classes and earning the best grades you can. Meanwhile, get to know other students who are studying subjects that you’re interested in. They can offer you insights as to the classes are like and what the major can be used for after graduation – plus, this allows you to establish a wide range of contacts, which can come in handy in later years when it comes to finding a job.

Final Thoughts

You may decide upon a major during your first semester of college, or you may choose it after your second year has concluded. Regardless, there will almost always be time to change your mind further down the road. It may take you a bit longer to graduate if you make a change later on in your studies – it is advisable to try to avoid switching majors beyond your sophomore year – but it is also crucial to earn a degree in a field that you truly love and that will provide you with a long and beneficial career. To achieve this, it may very well be worthwhile to slightly extend your studies than to graduate with a degree that you regret or do not use in your professional life.

What other ideas do you have for choosing a major in college?


1 Rye @Payment Protection Insurance Claims/Reclaims April 1, 2012 at 7:03 pm

One should decide first what they would like to be so he or she can choose to major in a field of study that will be relevant to the career of his or her choice. Take your time to decide and do some self-reflection and evaluation and while it is best to consult with family and close friends, do not let them make the decision for you. Decide for yourself.

2 Jessica June 19, 2012 at 7:10 am

Colleges is a place which play very important role in our life, which decide our job and future too. So it is really very necessary to make a right choice for a college.
I am 100% agreed with your post and your all 6 tips are great.
Thanks for sharing it.

3 David June 19, 2012 at 8:40 am

Opting for the most suitable major in college is important for making oneself marketable, apart from getting involved in extra curricular activities, leadership roles, and more. Really nice tips!

4 Christine July 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm

The only suggestion I have is that students take their time in selecting majors. This is a decision that you will probably live with your whole life, so make it wisely.

5 Mary Kaplan November 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Good post with lots of good tips. I agree wholeheartedly that making a lot of money doing something you don’t really love is not a good situation. Eventually the warm fuzzies about the great salary wear off and you’re left with a job you don’t enjoy. It is much better to do the research to find the job you will love and hopefully it will pay well too. College is such a wonderful time of life. Use the time to explore your options, learn excellent social skills and have fun!

6 Kellie April 24, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Just remember when choosing a major and if you’re going into debt for college, that your chosen degree will pay itself off over time. Nothing against the art history majors out there, but if you aren’t going get an advanced degree and ultimately a professorship, that degree isn’t going to do much for you on the job market. Choose something you enjoy, but also consider the earning potential over the life of your career.

7 Mark May 24, 2013 at 9:52 am

Wow! This was a great post. I’m in the midst of deciding what course to take in college. Those tips are very helpful. By the way, I reside here in the Philippines, so tuition fees or college debts are not a problem.

8 Arbaz Khan October 6, 2013 at 2:36 am

Choosing something that you enjoy is the only thing that you need to take care when you are choosing your college as that decision will make a lot of difference in the future.

9 L Rob November 20, 2013 at 3:35 am

I had the misfortune of not thinking thoroughly what I wanted to take up in college. I ended up with a major I didn’t really like but was just a means to go to a college away from home. 🙂

But then, I’m a living proof that college majors are not the basis of what you’ll end up with in the professional world. It’s how you perform and if you’re willing enough to continue learning even after college.

My major? Linguistics.

My work? Credit specialist.

Cheers to life’s irony!

10 Mark Thomas March 6, 2014 at 5:21 pm

I would advise against interning before you have much of an idea about what you’re interested in. I agree with taking your time to decide what to major in, and that’s not much of a concern with regard to internships anyway because they usually only go to upper-level students (juniors and seniors). But internships are very competitive and also very beneficial, so I wouldn’t waste time pursuing one if it’s for a field you might not even go into. Your chances of getting a lot of internships are low, so be as sure as you possibly can about what field you want to go into before you intern in it! Don’t waste your chance to intern on something you’re not totally sure about already. It will probably be the gateway into your career.

11 Rob August 14, 2014 at 12:09 am

Although I agree with your list, I still need to say that the financial opportunities of the degree matter tremendously. I have known too many people who have graduated with a degree in Shakespeare, music, art, and $100,000 of debt – only to find themselves working for minimum wage and living with their parents.

Yes, it is necessary to find something you’ll love. But it’s also a good idea to go to college for the purpose of pursuing a career – not purely because everyone else is doing it.

12 Brian Robben February 8, 2016 at 9:56 am

As a college success blogger myself, I’ve found that college students struggle with picking a major more than anything else, essentially. Nice insight, and I would add that more companies are looking for candidates who are versatile and can provide value, rather than a specific major.

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