Some students start college having already declared a major. Others have an idea of the direction they’d like to take, but haven’t committed to one major yet. And still others are open books, willing to explore anything from Engineering to English to Ancient Egyptian Studies. While most high schools have a limited number of classes that students can choose from, college offers up a seemingly endless array of courses, and needless to say, majors.
But if you were to walk on to your nearest college campus and talk to a random assortment of students, you might notice a trend.
Many students begin college thinking they are going to major in one thing, and end up studying something completely different.
Choosing your major is often a winding path, and keeping a few things in mind can help you make the most of the journey.
Taking new classes outside your comfort zone is a great way to discover your right-fit major. But it’s important to do this with intention. Having a general idea of the area you’d like to study and even work in after graduation (even if it’s something as general as “the humanities”) will help guide your course search. That way, it doesn’t just feel like you’re sticking your hand into a hat and choosing classes at random.
Balance practicality and passion
For some, choosing a major is all about career prospects. For others, it’s about finding the one subject that they truly love. However, many of the most successful college students find the major that balances practicality and passion. As the saying goes, if you find something you love doing, you’ll never work a day in your life.
Don’t be afraid to change your mind
Easier said than done, right? Nevertheless, it’s important to be honest with yourself and speak up if your gut is telling you that the path you’re heading down may not be the right fit. Many colleges let you change your major until the end of sophomore year and also provide institutional support for switching majors.
Look beyond the list of majors
If nothing jumps out at you from the list of majors at your college, consider thinking creatively. No business psychology major? Maybe you can major in business and minor in psychology. Or perhaps, even a double major! Many colleges and universities will also let you create your own major through an independent course of study. And don’t forget to check out the lesser-known majors, which often boast smaller class sizes and more professor-student interaction.
You’re not alone! Perhaps the most important thing you can do when searching for your right-fit major is asking for help. While the increased independence that comes with college can often make it feel like you’ve got to figure it out yourself, all schools have ample student support resources. Whether it’s your freshman advisor, favorite professor, or a friendly upperclassman, there’s no shortage of people on campus who would be eager to talk through the decision and help you find your right-fit major.