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How do I decide what to major in if I can't decide on one career option for my future?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Deijana’s Answer

Well, do some research. Think about all the things that you are interested in. Find what you like and go from there. Research the types of jobs there might be in that field and then research someone who does that job and find out what their path looks like to get them where they are. Working backwards might help you refocus to find what you want. Go out and be curious.
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Raven’s Answer

Hello Lance!

Greetings from Austin Texas!

This is a great questions because picking a major can be overwhelming as there are so many choices out there. The great thing is you don't have to have it all figured out just yet. I would start by figuring out what subjects you enjoyed most in High School and find a major that aligns closely to that. For example if you loved Biology I would explore options in your College of Science etc. Also finding a major that is more broad is also a good idea because that could give you more options.

It is also ok to change your mind. College is a great place to explore different areas of focus to guide you to that perfect career. Another great resource in college will be your career counselor as they can help you to explore all of your options.

Good luck on your journey and remember to enjoy your time in school. I am rooting for your all the way from Texas!

~Raven
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Vic’s Answer

Hi,

This is a great question - it is immensely difficult to decide on what to do early in life when there are so many options. A thing to keep in mind is that life is long and if you try something and you don't like it - with grit you can pivot elsewhere (although in many cases landing closer to what you deem a fit is ideal). Life, what you find interesting/value/etc and the world also changes (there could be careers out there that you want to switch to in the future that might not even exist today). With that being said, the bottom line here is to not beat yourself too much about this decision. Take time to do some introspection into these areas:

- strengths/weaknesses
- interests (explore by getting exposure to as much as possible ie. talk to people, network, go to many events, join clubs)
- life style you want in the future and if the careers you've identified fit into that
- market trends (ex. is the job market saturated for careers you've identified)

A good thing is that during the first year of college a lot of classes are for the general curriculum/ basic requirements needed for all students ti graduate type course load. Spend this time strategically thinking about the areas above to try narrow the scope.

Ex: during the year of general education requirements if you think something in business is for you - you could start taking classes there that are required in that school the second year and buy yourself time to further explore what specifically you want to specialize in within business while getting the more general requirements done
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Haylee’s Answer

Hello Lance!
I advise you to decide on something that excites you before determining a major. This can be as broad as art, science, education, to more specific things such as customer service, helping people, or working with kids. If you can think of a few things that you have motivation and excitement for, it will most certainly help you decide on a major. There are majors that are very broad that could potentially set you up for different programs after you graduate to specialize in something, as well as opening the door to a wide array of jobs. For example, Health Sciences is a great major if you want to work anywhere in the healthcare or medical field. This can range from taking care of patients on the floor in a hospital or being the person that manages a floor in a hospital (more on the business side). If you are completely unsure of what you are interested in at all, I recommend first taking general education classes that you will need to complete for graduation before declaring a major. The time before you decide on a major is a great opportunity to do some more research on different occupations that could potentially be fitting for you. If you can decide on 3-5 potential occupations, try to determine if there is a major that you could complete that would allow you to do at least a couple of these occupations so that you are able to have some time to think and decide on one while you are in college.

Haylee recommends the following next steps:

https://www.jobquiz.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAqo3-BRDoARIsAE5vnaJGDOyptJoWUuKmHO4Kd1juLsoheI8uCAHlvwBNGLuBif7E4aG4GHsaAtisEALw_wcB
Research occupations and their degree requirements
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Monica’s Answer

Hi Lance, this is not an uncommon question to have even once you venture into college. From my own personal experience I changed my major after my first year of university as realized shortly in what I enjoyed doing personally was not lined up with what I may want to pursue professionally or enjoyed indulging in once I began university. I would also advise interning and/or volunteering in area's that you think you may be interested in. This helped me get a better understanding what the real world of being in this career could look like. The final advice I would give you is don't be afraid of approaching people either within your network or outside through professional sites who are in a field you may be even remotely intrigued by and ask them if they are open to having a virtual coffee or answering some questions as you determine your path forward. You'll find most professionals are always willing to give some of their time to help. Lastly, it's important to remind yourself that there is no linear path to success nor does everyone have it figured out going into college, but the experiences you have will help inform you along the way.
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Ben’s Answer

This is a great thing to be thinking about! If you can't decide where to begin, I suggest you start talking to as many people as you can. Talk to your parents, cousins, aunts/uncles, friends, neighbors, etc. and ask them things such as:

1. How did you choose your career?
2. What do you like about it?
3. What do you not like about it?
4. Keep the conversation going to learn more!

By talking to a bunch of people, you'll get exposure to lots of professions and hopefully start to figure out careers you'd be interested in. If there are careers your interested in, and you don't know anyone who does that type of work, don't be afraid to ask your friends, family, neighbors for introductions to people they know. Talking to as many people as you can will not only help you discover your interests, it will simultaneously build a strong network of people you can reach out to once you're looking for an internship, full-time job, or career advice.
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Simeon’s Answer

Shadowing people and listening to people's honest opinions about their careers is a quick and straightforward way to find out if you think a career would be a good fit. If you don't know what you'd like to do, it'd be hard to go wrong with one of the business majors, especially marketing and finance.
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Gloria’s Answer

Aloha One thing to consider, for most majors, the first year is basic classes that apply to all majors. If you select a broad major at first, during your first year, if you decide what your passion is, you can switch majors.
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Alice’s Answer

Hi Lance,

There are so many majors out there that it is definitely tough to pick just one.

My suggestions are:

-Think about your potential career goals. Do you want to become a CPA, a pharmacist, or something else? Some (but not all) careers require that you take certain classes so pick a major that covers those classes. For example, if you want to become a CPA, a finance or accounting-related major would be a good choice because to sit for the CPA, it requires that you take certain classes. In that case, it would make sense to pick a major where you would be able to knock out those requirements instead of picking a major, such as English, where you would have to fulfill all the requirements to complete your English major AND take all the required classes to sit for your CPA. On the other hand, certain careers do not require you to major in a certain concentration (such as sales or marketing).

-Think about your interests. Do you love literature? Math? Pick a major that covers you interests. If you have multiple interests, you can even decide to double major or pick up a minor to help you explore all those interests. However, this will likely require you to take additional classes to fulfill requirements outside your major.

-If you're still unsure, that's completely fine too! A good number of students enter college as undeclared majors who are unsure what they want to major in. Many colleges will require you to take general education classes, in addition to classes to fit your major. If you're unsure, you can spend the first year or two taking classes to meet your general education requirements. The variety of general education classes should help you better gauge which types of classes you like and don't like and go from there. I

In fact, it's not uncommon that people enter college with a certain major, decide that the major is not for them, and switch majors, one or more times in college. It's completely fine if you don't have it figured out yet. Even if you do, it's also fine to figure out that your chosen major isn't for you and decide to change majors later on. I started out as a biology major on the pre-medicine track. After freshman year of college, I realized it wasn't for me and switched to finance. During that time, I picking up an internship at an investment firm and handled accounting-related tasks and decided that wasn't for me. At the same time, I took a few political science classes that I really loved and finally decided to switch to political science and, finally, graduated with a degree in that major.

-Join clubs and student organizations and apply to internships. The best way to figure out what you like to do (or not like to do) is through real life experience . You can meet other students in different majors and see what they like and don't like. Certain clubs and student organizations are targeted towards people wanting to pursue a certain career and they will often have guest speakers and host networking events for you to hear about and connect directly with someone working in that particular field. If you join a fraternity, they may also host a career day where alumni from that fraternity working in different professions will speak about what they do.

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Rachel’s Answer

Hi Lance,

I would recommend choosing a major that is broad. This allows you to learn a lot of skills that could be used in a variety of career paths. I didn't know what I wanted to do starting out after high school. A business degree ended up being a great option because I was able to use it in a variety of career positions. I would use your elective courses to try out classes you find interesting to see if it leads to a potential career path.

~Rachel
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Apurva’s Answer

This is a great question! I wish I had asked this question many years ago but I would echo the folks on here and suggest you study something that you are 1. Intellectually curious about 2. Passionate 3. Feel like it's something you would do as a career for free if someone let you.

Don't follow the herd - don't do something just because you think it'll be financially rewarding. I wish you good luck and encourage you to follow your bliss - you won't regret it!
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Mark’s Answer

Hi Lance,
Typically, your first year consist of a lot of general classes. In other words, not specific to a particular major. You do have the opportunity to select general electives. So if you think there is a class that may be of interest to you, I recommend choosing that class to determine if you could see yourself making a career out of it. Additionally, all colleges post intern opportunities. Doing an internship not only gives insight into a particular field, you may be able to earn credits or get paid for the work, it gives you experience that can be added to a resume, you build a network of contacts, and it may lead to a job offer after graduation.
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Marci’s Answer

Hello! I advise you to check out this website: onetonline.org.
It is a comprehensive website that has detailed job descriptions, salary ranges, job conditions and other details to help you make decisions on your major. I would also suggest you make a list of your other talents that friends, family, and teachers have told you that you possess. What gifts you have that made uniquely yours will bring you joy in your career. Everyone has gifts that only they can share and you will feel you are making a difference in the world when you use yours. Best wishes!

Marci recommends the following next steps:

Onetonline.org
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Pro’s Answer

If you have multiple interests you might try an Interdisciplinary, Liberal Studies, or General Studies major, that will let you combine multiple interests. Or an Individually Designed major that you can even name yourself.
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Brandy’s Answer

Use a job search website to search for jobs that you could see yourself doing in the future. Read the descriptions of the day-to-day job functions in order to see if that type of job appeals to you. Then read under the qualifications section of jobs that you like in order to figure out what type of degree you would need to get hired for that job. This will help you to make sure you choose a major that can actually get you into the job you want.
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