How to Choose a College Major

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So, you have just walked through the gates of your new college or university as a college freshman. Having just settled into campus life, you are looking forward to the start of the semester and attending those classes that should make you employable in the future. Then it hits you, you have not made up your mind about what your college major will be yet.

What do you do? Do you listen to your roommate and go with his choice of major studies? Tell your dad you will follow in his footsteps and become the doctor that finally cures cancer? Ask your friends to help you flip a coin? Needless to say, you now feel totally lost and insecure. But you need not fret. There is actually a method to the madness of choosing a college major.

And that, is what this paper is all about. The first thing you have to ask yourself is, “Am I prepared for college?” Are you truly ready to take on the huge task of higher education studies at this point in your life? Or would you rather take a sabbatical for a year and try to gain the confidence that you need in order to take that next plunge into adult life? If you answer “Yes” to this question then congratulations, you’ve passed your first hurdle.

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However, you will have all sort of college majors thrown before you the minute you hit your dorm room and each option will seem like the best and most logical choice for you. At this point, you seem uncertain about which major you really want to take.

That is okay. Nobody ever makes up his mind about his college major during his freshman year. Experts agree that (Hansen, 2011), “A majority of students in all colleges and universities change their major at least once in their college careers; and many change their major several times over the course of their college career. “ Just keep in mind that you should never panic.

Take your time, don’t rush things, the major that is meant for you will show up when you are good and ready to make the decision, not before. If you are absolutely sure that you want to make that decision the minute you enter college though, there are a few steps that you can use as a college major guide.

The first of which is to make sure that you have assessed your personal situation and answered questions like: “ What types of things excite you? What types of jobs or careers appeal to you? “ (Hansen, 2011). Answering those questions will also lead to the answers pertaining to the next step. That step being an analysis of your strong and weak points in terms of learning abilities and job skills. Having answered the previous questions, you now probably know all about what you value in work.

Hansen (2011) indicates that these values could be, “Helping society, working under pressure, group affiliation, stability, security, status, pacing, working alone or with groups, having a positive impact on others…” Now that you know what you value in your future workplace, you may now explore different career opportunities by referring to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Having completed those steps, you will now be in the best place to assess what your college major should be. You should have a clear picture of how much it will cost to complete your major, what future studies it might entail, the type of career growth you can expect, and if this is truly a career that you can see yourself doing fulltime for the rest of your life.

However, if you are the kind of person who needs more help than simple self examination, then you may want to consider referring to other sources such as the college course catalog of your university which houses descriptions of the various courses and majors being offered on campus, confer with a trusted professor regarding your possible career paths, or even the alumni and upper classmen in your school.

They would have already gone through various career training seminars or internships and can answer any questions you may have regarding their specific major. Your family and friends will also be more than willing to help you sort through the endless choices you may have for a major. Just don’t let them pressure you into choosing a major just because it is traditional in the family.

However, the most authoritative people to approach for help may be those little known people in the college career center. They are the people who know the most about various majors and the careers they lead up to. So informed are these people that they can even help you with internship and job placement when the need arises. Remember, your college major may or may not be the be all and end all of your employment career.

There have been cases wherein people change their career paths to something totally unrelated to their college majors. All because life changes and so do your needs. The major you choose in college is merely that first step towards a wealth of employment opportunities and the vast and fast changing world of career paths.


Hansen, Randall S. PhD. (2011). “Choosing Your College Major: How to Chart Your Ideal Path”. Quintessential Careers. Retrieved from

Categories: Career


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