It's one of the first big independent decisions of your academic life. Most likely your parents have hammered into you, choosing a major in college is an important decision. It's important to listen to your parents' concerns and advice. However, it's important for you to remember it's ultimately your major. You will have to do the work and ultimately leverage that major as you transition into the workforce.
WHEN DO YOU HAVE TO DECLARE YOUR MAJOR
Generally at most four-year colleges you don’t have to decide on a major until the end of your sophomore year. This gives you time to try a couple of classes and see what you like before you decide, and earn general education credits that count toward your degree. Keep in mind, certain fields and programs require an early commitment so you can take all the required classes and graduate on time.
FOUR STEPS TO PICKING YOUR MAJOR
STEP 1.) WHAT ARE YOUR INTERESTS – The first thing to consider when picking a major is what you like to do. By the time you graduate high school you’ll have enough information and experience from your classes to figure out what you might or might not be interested in pursuing.
STEP 2.) LIST 10 THINGS YOU LOVE – Listing what you love doing, both inside or outside the classroom, is a great way to see possible paths you can take. If you enjoy art and drawing but you’re also interested in technology, consider majoring in graphic design. If you’re into business and traveling, investigate majoring in international business.
STEP 3.) STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES – Figuring out your strengths and weaknesses can help you assess what kind of major to go into. For example, if public speaking isn’t really your thing, you might want to avoid majors that could lead to careers like being a news anchor or spokesperson. You can also take your weaknesses and build on them in college. If public speaking is something you want to improve, go ahead and take a speech class. You might love it!
STEP 4.) CONNECT THE DOTS – One of the most essential factors in selecting a career path is to choose a job that aligns with your interests and talents. Before you decide to embark on a career path that you think you will love, you need to consider other factors. For example, if you love to travel, you may think you would enjoy a career in which traveling is a part of your job. And while that may sound initially exciting and adventurous, you may grow tired of sleeping in hotels and living out of suitcases.
FOUR STEPS IN CREATING YOUR CAREER GOALS
After digging into what you’re interested in and potential careers options, it’s time to think about your goals and your future career—and how easy or how hard it might be to find employment. If you have a specific career goal in mind, you might need to pick your major or program in advance, sometimes as early as when you’re applying to college. It’s also good to know what degree you’ll need for the field that interests you.
STEP 1.) SEEK OUT ADVICE – The best source of college advice is your school counselor. They’ve helped lots of students who are making the same decisions you are. Your school counselor can tell you more about college majors and program offerings. You can also reach out to professionals working in the field you’re interested in. They can talk to you about how they got from college to where they are now. Whether they’re your parents, guardians, family members, or people you interact with professionally, set up a time to interview them. Be prepared with a set of questions to ask.
STEP 2.) NETWORKING – You can use LinkedIn to research companies, industries and opportunities that relate to your degree. After identifying a few occupations that are of interest, you can now look at which industries you would like to work within on LinkedIn. You can then connect with them to find out more information about their jobs, industry or company by reading their LinkedIn profiles or by arranging an informational interview. Comparing occupational outcomes and salaries across different industries may help you to focus your career goals even further.
STEP 3.) EXAMINE THE JOB OUTLOOK – The job outlook for your chosen career path is another important factor that must be researched. You don’t want to choose a profession that may become extinct in the next few years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest-paying careers – which have a median annual salary of well over $200,000 – are surgeons, orthodontists, chief executives, dentists and judges. At the other end of the spectrum, bakers, childcare workers, cooks, cashiers and floral designers earn a median annual salary that is less than $25,000.
STEP 4.) JOB SHADOWING – If you know someone who is already working in the career you are interested in, interview that person. This is a great way to research careers you may be interested in. Ask what they like and what they don’t about the career field. It’s also a good idea to ask their advice when starting out in the career field and what employers are looking for. A bonus would be to ask if you can shadow them at work one day.
Remember Sophia, though this is an important decision, it is not etched in stone. If you start taking classes within your major and find you’re not enjoying them, switch classes or start trying classes in another major immediately. In fact, about two-thirds of undergraduates switch their major at least once, so keep that in mind as you take classes your first year.
Hope this was Helpful Sophia
Nevertheless, It is always a good idea to know what area of study you're interested in, and the best way to do that is through research. What do you like to do? What are you good at? For example, do you like working with people? In what setting do you like doing this? Would you like to have an office job? Or do something more active? Are you Artsy? ….
The best to start your search is to be introspective and decide what you think your strength and weaknesses are. If you need a little help with this, then I highly suggest you try an online career test. These exams are usually free, and give you scenarios where you can state whether or not you would like to do something like the scenario in your future.
You've gotten tons of good advice so far, so I will only reiterate a few things here:
1. Don't rush into a major - as noted by others, you usually don't have to declare a major as soon as you start school, so take time to explore classes that interest you (in addition to your required core classes) for the first year at least.
2. Don't be hard on yourself if you start with one major and switch to another. It happens all the time (it's quite common, actually), and if it moves you in the direction you want to go, that's all that matters. No learning is ever wasted.
3. If you DO find yourself leaning towards a particular major, see if your school's career development office can help you set up information interviews with working professionals who have the same major and are working in that field. That's a great way to gauge if a potential major might be a good fit for your long-term career interests.
Good luck and enjoy the journey!
I suggest thinking about your passions and interests then researching types of careers you could transition into. I personally changed my major, I started with Communications and moved to Sociology once I realized the broader industries I could apply my skills and interests in. I never planned on becoming a sociologist/psychologist, but I loved learning about people and connections and ended up having a career in recruiting. Also, my younger sister went through a few changes herself as she re-discovered her true passions - she started undeclared, then interior design, and ultimately landed in photography with a minor in green sustainability. Once you identify your passions and interests, take a look at your schools programming and see if there's any clubs or groups you can join and if those tie into any specific majors and departments. I also suggest searching on Google or LinkedIn different job titles or people you look up to for inspiration :) As cheesy as it sounds, follow your heart and you can always change your major at a later time or switch it to a minor :)
First, focus on your strengths and weaknesses. The best suggestion I can give is by taking a pen and a paper -make two categories and start writing down- what it is you enjoy doing as a hobby and what it is you don’t.
Then, make a self evaluation about yourself- use the same method.
For the self evaluation- you can take online assessments , some offered for free and take a skill based test specifically about you and at the end you will receive an evaluation what the best suitable professions would be good for you.
After, you need to do some research around what’s offered to you and understand if these careers is something you see yourself doing.
Keep in mind, choosing a career has to be somewhere around your passion-because this is for a long time and you want to be happy, make progress, and look forward going to work and not the other way around. Because, at the end- it’s your health that matters and working in a stressful environment could become an u healthy path.
These are some of the research and cites you can use for your self evaluation:
Monster. Com-this is a job search cite and you can also find a free self assessments
Best of luck
I recommend researching a topic or field that you are genuinely interested in. Doing so will give you the experience and knowledge to see if that field is something you want to major in. Good luck!
Include the humanities (philosophy, sociology, psychology, english literature, theatre) and the sciences (calculus, physics, chemistry, biology) in your coursework, regardless of major ultimately selected. These subject matters will provide a solid educational foundation for continuous learning and critical thinking beyond the classroom and college.
If you're not yet enrolled in college:
Consider taking the courses that I mentioned above and do plan to speak with a career counselor once you are on campus (Career Development Office) about what your aspirations are (for instance, discuss why you decided to go to college; what do you hope to contribute to the classroom, your classmates or your community?). Even on your first semester, it is not too early to find out where your guidance counselor or career coaches work on campus.
Whether or not you are enrolled in college:
Consider learning a couple of software development/coding languages (after doing research about the most practical or on-demand coding languages). There are some open/free courses online that provide the foundations for neophytes. Take Statistics before or during your studies.
Talk with your parents and don't put too much pressure on choosing a major from Day 1 of college. It does make sense though to think about what type of work you would like to do after college and narrow it down from research on industries, your talents and dreams. Additionally, the future of work entails career change (switch of sector) at least once after college. Hence, you might end up working in a field that you never imagined you would during school. Remain flexible and agile in your career strategy.
Keep learning and stay well,
For me personally, I found the best option was to explore jobs on campus or near campus - as well as getting involved with clubs. I joined our school newspaper and was pushed to grow and be challenged in new ways that I did not experience in my classes. So I think you should be open to exploring and ask to even shadow connections you may have to see what interests grow.
Additionally, I did not think I would like my first job out of college - I literally just said, "I don't care what this is, I need someone to hire me" and it ended up having many aspects that I enjoyed. (although the leadership was terrible) I was able to grow in new skills and find out things that I wanted in future positions.
Lastly, I would just say, to have courage and keep trying. Finding a full-time job after college can be difficult and interviewing can be draining, but if you keep a good perspective and always seek to want to learn more and do better no matter where you are - then you can do great things!
Wish you all the best!
Jordan recommends the following next steps:
I hope all is going well with you during these unusual times. very good question and I am thrilled to give you some advice that may help you decide how to pick a major. The steps I used to decide what I wanted to major in. I first thought about what I was interested in for example working in the medical field or a Lawyer just whatever you feel is important to you. I then researched what it would take for me to get my degree and the number of credit hours I would have to have to get the degree. Last but not least the amount of money you will make.
I hope these tips help you out with deciding on what you would like to major in.
Have a great day and stay safe!
One thing you can do is think of something you are interested in, good at and passionate about, including your strengths/weaknesses, and likes/dislikes and take courses relative to those passions. You can also reach out to a career counselor to see if there are any career assessments you can take where you can learn about your skills are and what careers are linked to those skills. If you are concerned about choosing a major for classes to take, most colleges let you become undeclared major and you can take the general classes needed to graduate for the time being until you know what major to choose.
Another thing you can do is explore and do informational interviews with people on what they do and where they work to see if their career catches your attention. You can also join clubs and social activities on campus, or do any volunteer work that catches your interest and if you end up enjoying what the subject is about, then maybe, you'll want to major in something relative to that subject and find a career path. Once you have a decided major you can talk to an academic advisor about your career path and the next steps to guide you.
I hope this helps!