Are you in the midst of choosing a major for college? Whether it causes excitement or a little bit of anxiety, you’re not alone.
After all, it is a major decision!
A college major is the specific subject that you will specialize in while earning your degree. The bulk of your courses will be in your major and will ultimately prepare you for a lifelong career within a related field. You’ll take classes with fellow students who have similar interests, learn from faculty who are subject-matter experts, and possibly even complete an internship as part of your degree requirements.
Many students feel the weight of needing to make the “perfect” major choice upon their arrival to campus—or even earlier, while they are still in high school.
Here’s the good news: That couldn’t be further from the truth!
In fact, one-third of first-time college students change their major at least once within three years. College is a time for exploring and learning what subjects and industries appeal to you. So just know, whatever major you declare initially isn’t necessarily set in stone.
That said, we know you want to make the best, most-educated decision possible.
Keep reading for 7 tips for choosing a major!
1. Consider your passions.
What are you passionate about? Simply put, your passions and interests should absolutely be considered as you choose a major.
In fact, studies have found that students tend to perform better in school when they are studying subjects that fall within their scope of interest. Why? Because interest is a powerful motivational process that energizes learning.
So, study something you’re passionate about! You’ll find the learning process more enjoyable, you’ll likely perform better in class, and you’ll be setting yourself up for a career you’re passionate about.
2. Evaluate your skills.
Think back on your many years as a student. What subjects or extracurriculars did you excel in? Maybe it was math and science, English and writing, varsity soccer, marching band, or theater.
You get the idea. Wherever you feel like you shine, consider building upon those natural skills that you have fostered over the years.
Tip: Take a close look at your high school grades and your ACT/SAT scores. This will give you a good idea of your natural strengths in specific academic areas.
3. Identify your top priorities.
Take a moment to think about what you value in a future career. For some students, knowing they will always be able to find a job is most important. For others, finding joy in their daily work is the most significant factor.
Here are a few things you can think about as you consider your priorities:
- Ability to be creative
- Chance to travel
- Degree of enjoyment
- Engaging in a job at which you are highly skilled
- High-paying salary
- In-demand job
- Opportunity to make a difference
- Work-life balance
If you’re having a tough time deciding on just one, you’re not alone. Most of the time, students actually identify multiple priorities that they weigh in balance as they settle on a major.
4. Research possible careers.
If you haven’t already, jot down a list of your passions, skills, and priorities. In the next column, brainstorm careers that align with what you wrote.
Once you’ve created a list of potential careers, narrow it down to a few that interest you the most. Then, research which degrees would be most advantageous to your career choice.
For example, if you want to become a microbiologist, consider a degree in biology or environmental sciences. If you’re interested in becoming a pastor, you may want to major in ministry or youth and family ministry.
Tip: Check out the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to learn more about potential careers. Sort by industry, salary, job outlook, and more.
5. Consider adding a double major.
Have multiple areas of interest? Don’t feel like you have to choose just one.
With a double major, you’ll complete two sets of degree requirements and earn one bachelor’s degree when finished. Ultimately, it can provide a more well-rounded education and make you more competitive in the marketplace.
Your two majors can be in related fields—like business administration and professional sales—or in two separate fields entirely—like psychology and ministry. Our biggest tip is to try to pick two majors that a) you’re interested in and b) will work well together as you pursue your career goals.
Tip: Don’t want to commit to a second major? You can always add a minor. This allows you to complement your major or explore personal interests with a much smaller commitment.
6. Meet with an academic advisor.
Looking for some guidance about your major decision? Consider making an appointment with an academic advisor at your college!
Academic advisors are there to help in a variety of ways—including guiding students as they choose a major. Typically, they have access to resources, tools, and assessments that can help you determine the best fit based on your interests and skill sets.
Plus, they’re experts. Advisors typically have years of experience assisting students who were in the very same situation as you.
7. Don’t be afraid to be undecided.
If you’re still struggling to settle on a major, don’t stress. A lot of students feel the same way!
Entering college as an ‘undecided major’ can be a great decision. Simply put, it gives you the freedom to explore.
An undecided major allows you to focus on your general education requirements during your first few semesters, exposing you to a wide variety of subjects from history and English to biology and psychology. You’ll also have the opportunity to take elective courses that you may not even have considered if you were already focused on a specific major.
All that to say, when you do declare a major—typically after your freshman or sophomore year—you should have a pretty solid idea of programs that interest you!
Explore Majors at MACU
As you consider your passions, interests, and skills, we encourage you to explore majors at MACU.
On top of it all, you will have the opportunity to pursue your major of choice within a faith-based context. Plus, you will find a supportive, Christ-centered community that will encourage you in all areas of your life—academically, socially, and spiritually.
Starting to envision yourself choosing a major here? Check out more about MACU academics!