I’ve recently decided to change my major and it’s got me re-evaluating what it was like to choose a major. So, in this post I’ll share tips for high school seniors and college students who may be re-thinking their choice.
Know Your Interests
If you have absolutely no idea where to start, consider making a couple lists. Consider what your current hobbies are and if they are something you want to monetize. Or, consider a class or subject you got really excited for. Is it writing, algebra, painting, producing, or filming?
Another helpful tip when choosing a major is to look at different colleges and their majors on their website. You might not have considered a major an option if you didn’t know it existed!
Don’t Focus Too Much on the Numbers
Stats can be a great guide into popular and unpopular majors, job outlook, etc. But sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in the numbers. Even if a job outlook isn’t considered amazing, you still have lots of options. For example, a major like Psychology and Communications can give you many more option than Education, which limits you to one job.
Focus on a balance: hard facts and interests. If you want a ultra-specific major but aren’t willing to live on campus or travel far, then your going to run into issues.
Consider Your Personality
Now this is an issue I ran into. If you are introverted and quiet, a job that requires public speaking and constant human interactions probably isn’t the right fit for you. Same goes for extroverts. Maybe a quiet office job or freelancing won’t work for you if you crave interactions besides in the digital space.
Personality tests like Myers-Briggs and online major/career quizzes probably won’t decide your future with 20 questions, but it’s a good start. It’ll get you thinking: why do I like this major? Why don’t I? It’s a great starting point in choosing a new major.
Be Aware of Stereotypes
Stereotypes can often really hurt people in the field and outside of it too. Stereotypes like science/math majors being anti-social nerds or Art majors being careless, wasting money on a useless degree. Or English degrees are useless besides teaching, so on and so forth.
Be aware of these harmful rumors. It can be funny, but often times it pushes new college students away because they think their degree is worthless or makes them a certain thing they aren’t.
Think About Getting a Minor
Minors can be a really great thing. If you have a certain passion for art but don’t want that to be your career, you can minor in art to get some professional experience for your hobby. Or, another method I’m using personally is rounding out your major.
A lot of majors have minors that can easily add to your experience. For my case, I’m majoring in English with a concentration in writing. A lot of the jobs I’m looking at are for Communications majors, which covers writing but also a lot of mixed media. So, I’m minoring in Communications to round myself and get extra classes that also focus on my career.
If you are also a English major, consider minors such as Psychology, Journalism, or foreign languages. Or, if you are STEM major, consider other stems to minor in. Or alternatively, join a club instead.
Think: What Will Make Me Happy?
Think about what makes you happy. Think about the environment for jobs, the classes you’ll have to take, and see what your everyday life will be like. Try to really imagine what your life will be like. It might consist of traveling, or long work days, or a struggle at the start to get going.
Watching youtube videos on topics in your career helps, but also consider vlogs and day in the life videos. What are they doing every day? What is a normal work day like? Can you imagine yourself working like that?
But most importantly, consider what will make YOU happy, not anyone else. It’s your life to live, and choosing a major is not permanent. According to BestColleges.com, “roughly half of all college freshmen enter college undecided about their major. Additionally, as many as 70% will change their major at least once during the course of their four-year degree program; the majority of these students change their major at least three times.”
So don’t be afraid to consider other options. Take your time, research, and think about what’s best for you when choosing a major.