Picking a college major can be overwhelming. Some students enter college with a major declared, while others first focus on general education requirements for a year or two before choosing their field of study.
Whenever you are ready to declare a major, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
- Consider Your Interests
A student should never feel pressured by friends or family to declare a certain major. This is a decision that will guide your career, not theirs. You should be passionate about your studies. Think about what subjects you enjoy learning about. Otherwise, you may be stuck with a degree in a field that doesn’t interest you.
- Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
It may be tempting to choose a major solely based on a career path that piques your interest, but you should also be aware of the academic requirements for that major. For example, someone interested in the medical field may struggle in school if they’re not interested in math and science courses that are designed to educate future medical professionals.
If you plan to choose a major that is slightly outside your comfort zone because it leads to a career you know you’ll love, be prepared to study, work hard, and ask for help when necessary. Not sure what your strongest traits are? Ask friends and family for their input.
- Research Salary and Job Outlook
While the potential for financial success shouldn’t be the only factor that influences your choice, it is something to think about. There has been a recent rise in unemployment for recent college graduates, but it affects people in certain fields and geographic regions more than others. Look at the job outlook for potential careers in your area. You should also consider the starting salary for jobs in your major, as well as opportunities for advancement.
- Take Your Time
Don’t feel pressured to choose a major before you’re ready. If you’re uncertain, enter college without a declared major. Test the waters and take introductory-level classes in a variety of subjects that you’re considering. It may also help to do some job shadowing so you can see where those majors may lead.
There is no pressure to declare your major at the very start of your college career, but waiting too long could push back your graduation date. Remember, you’re not alone. Many students change majors during their college career. This is why it’s important for students to utilize on-campus resources, such as their academic advisor, to help point them in the direction of a major they’ll love.