What do you want to be when you grow up? For some of us, it’s a question that’s always been easy to answer, but for others, it’s quick to induce nervousness and sweaty palms.
Many college and high school students are unsure of what they want to do for a career, which makes it tough to pick a major.
If you don’t know how to choose a major, you’re not alone—many college students get overwhelmed trying to figure this out. With so many amazing degrees and courses of study, it’s one of the biggest decisions you make as a student.
To help you out, keep reading to find our ultimate guide to how to figure out what you want to major in.
Step One of How to Choose a Major—Consider Your Passions
Many students are unsure about choosing a major, as it’s a big decision! However, one of the first steps is to take a step back and think about what you’re passionate about.
What in life do you absolutely love? This could be animals, the environment, helping others—think outside the box.
Ideally, your major will lead to a career in a related field, so you want to select a major that you’re going to enjoy for years to come. If your passion is family, for example, how can you incorporate that into a major?
Once you give it some thought, there are a lot of ways. Would you want to become a social worker, to help other families? Or a teacher, to educate children?
Often, you can align your passions and hobbies to your major, helping you find your dream career.
Workshop Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Next, it helps to think about your strengths and weaknesses, both academically and personally. Knowing what you’re good at and what you struggle with may help you eliminate certain majors that may not be right for you.
If you’ve always had a hard time with math, majors like engineering and medicine are going to be very heavy in mathematics courses, so those careers may not be for you.
Or, if you’re a talented writer, English or language studies might be an option for you. Working out your own talents can be tricky sometimes, so don’t be afraid to ask a parent or trusted teacher for feedback.
Consider Your Future Career Goals
Now that you’ve started to narrow down your options, think more about what your career goals are after college. What major will help you get there?
Sometimes, the answer to that is easy—teachers, doctors, and lawyers have pretty straightforward career paths, to name a new.
But for other careers, there are several majors that will take you to where you want to go. It helps to research some of your future career ideas to see what majors others have chosen.
Or, your career goals may be entirely financially-driven. In that case, some of the highest paying majors include engineering, aeronautics, and applied economics.
Your high school or college career counselors should be able to provide more details about which majors are best for each career. Or, try to attend career fairs to speak to employers about what they look for in potential candidates when hiring.
Speak to Your Professors
Don’t underestimate your college professors—they are one of your best resources when selecting a major.
They can give you advice based on their own experience, but also based on their knowledge of their fields. Speaking with older students can help as well, as they’ve already chosen their major and may be able to point you in the right direction.
How Long Do You Want to Study?
Many careers require more than just four years of undergraduate studies. Are you prepared to undertake a Master’s or a Ph.D?
If you think four years is enough, there are plenty of lucrative careers that can be obtained after you earn your Bachelors. Or, if you love the challenge of studying and would like to learn an additional degree, that’s something to think about when deciding on a major.
Studying for longer also means more tuition bills, so make sure you’re financially able to take on more degrees or consider options for loans or scholarships.
Take a Variety of Classes
If you’re a freshman in college and you haven’t declared a major, one of the best options is to take a wide variety of courses in your first year.
This will help you explore your options and sample a few different fields of study that interest you. It may inspire you to learn more about a major you hadn’t considered.
Most colleges require a set number of general studies credits anyway, so you’re not setting back your studies at all by doing this. Plus, you’ll expand your horizon, learn more about your own educational interests, and hopefully meet fellow students.
Pick a Major with These Top Tips
Now that you know more about how to choose a major, use the tips above to give serious thought to your future. Although selecting a major seems like one of the hardest decisions, remember that you can always change majors later on.
Your college’s staff are there to help you, as are your parents and friends, so seek out support and advice whenever you need help. Before you know it, you’ll have decided on the perfect major for you and you’ll be working towards your goals.
Get started today and find the best major for your future!
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