So, it seems like all of your friends know what they’re going to do with their lives…except you! When you’re close to applying for college, the struggle to choose a major can be immensely stressful.
There are dozens and dozens of majors to choose from. So…how do you know which one is for you? Try out these tips to narrow down your search and help you on the way!
1) What are your career prospects?
This is the the most obvious step, but–what are you career prospects? A huge differentiation to make is whether you are solely pursuing your interests or whether you’re looking for a purely practical career option. Are you looking more for something that will purely satisfy your interests or something that will make you the most money? Of course, these can often be the same thing. It’s all a matter of balance.
Career choice is extremely complicated, however, and often it’s difficult to get an idea of what you want to do in your life until after college–and after you’ve explored many of your interests. Because so many people are unsure of their future careers, oftentimes a better question to ask is…
2) What are you passionate about?
Ah, the dreaded question. But it’s absolutely what you want to ask yourself when you’re deciding on a major! Knowing what you’re interested in doesn’t have to be all that specific, either. What classes are your favorite? What do you do in your free time? Knowing where your true interests lie can help guide you toward a major that you might want to consider.
Of course, major choice isn’t always about what you’re most interested in, but there are plenty of people who–not knowing what they’d like to do as a career–simply choose a major that they’ll enjoy. Who knows? You might find a promising career path after taking a few classes that you love.
Take a look at this list of common college majors to get an idea of the huge variety of options you can choose from.
3) Talk to friends and family
This one sounds obvious, but it’s actually so helpful! Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family about their opinions on future major choices. Adults especially who have already been through the process can be especially helpful with their own past experiences.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask, “Hey, I’m confused about what I should major in. Any advice?”
4) Try some of these online quizzes!
Sounds trivial, but there are SO many online tools out there that can be incredibly helpful when looking into major choice.
- MyMajors is one of the most specialized tools available–geared towards finding you a major you’ll love!
- MajorFinder provides you with an extremely detailed analysis of your strengths and interests–and what career would be the best fit. Although I already know what my major will be, I took the test–and the majors it listed were all majors I’d considered in my past…and the #1 choice they gave me was the one I’d already selected!
- Shobia Career Finder – A great tool to narrowing down your career search.
- What Career Is Right For Me? – The website name speaks for itself. Full and comprehensive guide to finding a career that will fit your interests and goals well.
- Career Test Center actually uses personality typing to match you up with a compatible career.
5) If all else fails, apply undecided!
According to research by the University of LaVerne, 50-70% of undergraduates switch their majors at least once–and colleges know this. Don’t feel pressured to choose one if you really feel like you’re not ready for a commitment.
That sounded like a line from a chick flick.
Anyways! There is not disadvantage in admissions if you choose the “Undeclared/Undecided” box. Of course, admissions officers might like it if they can get an idea of what you want for your future–but applying without a major will never be the ultimate deciding factor in your decision. The only way it might hurt you is if there is a special program/school at the school for your future major. If you apply without a major, you wouldn’t be admitted to that program–though you would still have a chance at being admitted to the school.
There are dozens upon dozens of potential majors out there! No matter how much you worry, there will always be one that will fit you and your future well…so don’t stress about it! In any case, applying undecided is not something to fear or be ashamed of. Don’t feel pressured to choose a major you don’t really want–just to fill it out on your application!
Good luck, and happy hunting!
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About Maddi Lee
Maddi is currently a high school junior in southern California. She is an avid freelance writer and has been featured in multiple literary publications and anthologies. When she isn't writing, she loves traveling, doodling, and most of all, sleeping. Through her own experience and passion, she hopes to help guide fellow students through the roller coaster that is SAT and college admissions...that is, as long as she survives the journey herself!
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