Finding out that you have been accepted to the college of your choice is certainly an exciting reward for all your years of hard work and study in high school. But getting into a college is only the first step – deciding what you are going to do during your undergraduate career is something else again.
Some lucky students start college knowing exactly what they want to major in. But many students aren’t sure what field of study they want to focus on. Or they may know what kind of a career they want, but they aren’t sure which is the best major to reach that goal. It is important to realize that some uncertainty about what to study is very common among college students. After all, about one-third to one-half of your courses will be in your major or related to it, so you need to be selective and choose a subject that you are truly interested in.
In fact, if you don’t have a clear idea of what you want to do, then knowing what genuinely engages your attention is the first thing to consider when deciding on a major. Ask yourself which subjects you enjoyed most in high school, and which you could hardly wait to be done with. You don’t want to waste your time getting a degree in a major that will prepare you for a career that you won’t enjoy, even if the money is good. Be honest with yourself here, so that you don’t graduate with a degree that you barely use before you decide that you don’t like the work you’re doing, and then have to go back to school and get retrained for the career that you really want.
If you aren’t really interested in anything in particular, you may be able to find a major by asking yourself what you are good at. Majoring in something that you have a natural talent for can help you Sfurther develop your interests and skills and lead to a rewarding and satisfying career. Alternatively, you could ask yourself what skills you want to learn, and then choose a major that will teach you those skills.
And outside of your own interests, you may find that you have other factors that influence your studies, such as your family’s situation, financial obligations and limitations, and even cultural expectations. While focusing on your own needs and goals is very important, it may also be necessary for you to keep in mind any external forces that have an influence on your life in one way or another so that you can find a major that satisfies both your internal goals and plans and whatever outside issues you need to deal with.
Even when you’ve considered all these factors, you may still find that you are unsure about what you want to major in. The good news, however, is that you don’t need to make a decision as soon as you arrive at college. In fact, at most four-year colleges, you aren’t required to declare a major until the end of your sophomore year. This gives you time to try some different classes, talk with other students and with faculty members, and see if you can find something that appeals to you.
And you should also keep in mind that while your major will dictate your career to some extent, most majors actually prepare you for a range of jobs once you graduate. In short, for most students, picking a college major does not lock you into a specific career since many of the analytical, research and communicative skills you learn in any major can be utilized in a wide range of professions.
Finally, remember that if you’re having trouble deciding on a major, you’re not alone. Most colleges have peer counselors, career placement centers and other options available to help you decide on what to major in, so don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice if you need it.