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How do you find what you want to major in college?

I am a current senior and planning on attending college at UCSC and am registered as undeclared. #college


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Victoria’s Answer

There is no one path or one straight shot answer for anyone. Some people come into college knowing exactly what they want to do and for others it takes more time. My advice would be to take classes that interest you and get involved in student organizations that align with your passions and skills. Through the different experiences you have in college both in school and outside of it, you will start to identify things you really love and are good at. When this happens, start asking career counselors and professors about career paths that align with those. Try different jobs or internships in those areas and each experience will bring you closer to where you are meant to be! Good luck, you will do great!

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John’s Answer

Thomas most students enter college undeclared, with more than 275 majors to explore, finding one that suits you can be challenging. But when should you choose your major? And how should you navigate college before declaring one? Do your research. Look up majors of interest to learn more. Take a career assessment, often available online or through your college's career services. You can read more about specific degree programs or check out careers on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website (https://www.bls.gov/), which provides information about the job outlook and working conditions for your field of interest, what you'll have to study, and what key characteristics you'll need for success.

Most colleges require that all students take the same basic courses, whether they're majoring in English or Computer Science. As almost every college requires core classes to complete your bachelor’s degree, students take a number of general education courses that are required for any type of post-secondary diploma, and these courses typically include composition, mathematics, science, social sciences, and humanities classes, start by taking these courses during your freshman year. However, keep in mind that you'll probably want to explore some different classes to learn about the various majors. Many times, those classes will fit into your schedule, as colleges usually require students to complete a certain number of elective courses. Talk to your academic adviser to find out how your classes of interest can fit into your academic plan.

Some colleges also allow students to audit or sit in on classes without being officially enrolled. This can be an effective way to learn more about a subject without having to commit money or credits to taking a class. Another way to learn more about a subject for free is to join a club or pursue an activity that focuses on your topic of interest, one where students can tell you more about the major and what it's like.

Happy Hunting Thomas

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Kei’s Answer

Hi Thomas!

It really depends on what industry you want to be a part of. When I was your age, I wanted to pursue the medical field because I have always dreamed to be a doctor. But, in the end, I ended up being a Manager in a different company and I am enjoying every single day.

My suggestion, find what you are passionate about. If you see yourself caring for people then maybe the medical field is the best route. If you see yourself being an educator then the field will be the education. There are a vast number of opportunities out there. To me, the mist important thing is, find something that you really want to do, something that you are passionate about.

Hope that helps and good luck! :)

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Christy’s Answer

Hi Thomas,

That is a great question and one that plagued me when I entered college. What did I want to be when I grew up? The beauty of a college education is that you can go into your freshman year and take classes in different areas to see what you like. When I was a freshman, I took a Geology Course and also a couple of Political Science/Law type courses because I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. After taking a course in law and the Constitution, I knew that was not for me so I took a different path.

I ended up with a Political Science/Economics degree and still didn't know what I wanted to do when I graduated...and there is nothing wrong with that (even though I thought so at the time). It took me a while to find my career path and I am super happy with where I ended up. A Liberal Arts education is an education in life and everything you learn there will help you in your career...whatever you choose in the end.

Good luck and don't fret!

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Nikki’s Answer

I would recommend you think about what you love to do, are passionate about, and have skills in. For instance, if you are great at working with kids, then maybe you should become a teacher. If you are great at coming up with creative ideas and like creating content and/or writing, you might want to instead consider something in communications. Think about and research what you can do with your skills and passions.

Also, you may want to consider taking a career aptitude test. However, this is just a guide. Try to keep yourself open to all the possibilities, not just what the career aptitude test suggests. Here is one test you could take: https://www.princetonreview.com/quiz/career-quiz. You could then figure out what majors go with the career you want.

Since you know where you are going to college, you may also want to look at the different classes for each major to see what majors have courses that interest you and align with your skills/passions. Also, congratulations on your acceptance!! Furthermore, if there is a particular major you like, try to find people in that major who are a few years older to talk to them and see what they think of it/learn more. You could also reach out to the professors who are in that department or teach the classes for the major to learn more!

Good luck! Most schools don't make first year students declare their major right away, so hopefully you will have some time to decide.

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Serena’s Answer

Hi Thomas,
Start by asking yourself where does your interest lie,
What type of career you are looking to develop after graduation,
And whether or not you are willing to fulfill all requirements needed to complete the respective majors.

I would suggest you to shortlist 3 major choices,
Explore your network and talk to people who are studying those majors,
Or even better - those who graduated from those majors,
So you can make a more informed decision into what lies ahead after committing to it.

You can also try attending some lectures under those majors if feasible,
Job shadowing or volunteering in the respective field is also also a great way to better understand,
And it will be great to fill into your resume too for future job applications.

Good luck!

Regards,
Serena

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Brayden’s Answer

Hello!

I think the most important thing to remember when deciding what occupation you want to pursue is that you must find something that you truly enjoy. Throw out outside influences like friends, family, income, etc. and focus on what it is that you truly enjoy. I know of many people who choose an occupation because of money or because its what their family wanted them to do and they quickly become burned out and are no longer motivated to continue with school. If you are unsure what you want to do, a simple google search can really help narrow down what a specific degree can get you in terms of jobs and what they do at those jobs. Once you find ones that you are interested in then find some companies that offer these jobs and each out to them. In many cases there will be someone there that you can talk to about the type of work they do at that specific company and tell you a little about company culture and likes and dislikes. In the end I would suggest finding something that challenges you and pushes you to be the best version of yourself you want to be because ultimately thats what provides happiness in life.

Hopefully this helps! Good luck!

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Sara’s Answer

Hi Thomas,

There are two different pathways you could take when deciding what to major in.

1. Think of jobs that interest you the most. Search those job titles or keywords on Indeed or LinkedIn so you can read the job descriptions. This will help you get a sense of what that job entails and if you're interested. Typically job postings will share the education that is needed - this can help guide you on the education necessary to get in that field that you like most!

2. When registering for classes, take classes in different disciplines that interest you. This will give you the opportunity to explore potential majors and subjects. Keep an open mind and do some research based on how you feel about your classes. That will help you explore potential careers based on the discipline you enjoy the most!

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Collette’s Answer

Hi Thomas, do not be discouraged. Many times we are unsure of the career path we intend to take. However, registering as an undeclared major allows you to generalize your studies. The beneficial aspect of this educational path is that during the course of your studies you may discover something you would be passionate about. For instance, when I was in high school I wanted to become an Accountant, I registered as an undeclared major and was on my way to study nursing. Ultimately, I found that I was passionate about Psychology and I am on my way to grad school to accomplish my dreams.

Best wishes on your academic journey.

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Alvina’s Answer

When I was young, I've been pegged as a doctor but then, I did not want to be one so I thought I'd be a lawyer or in the field of IT. I did not know what to major in college. All I knew was that I want to be a lawyer so when the time came to choose a major, I chose Accounting. It's because it's a good pre-law and if don't decide to go to law school, I'd be a professional. After graduating, my path ended to becoming an IT Auditor. I still use my accounting know-how but I love my job and I cannot imagine doing anything else.

Moral of the story: Choose your passion, life has a way of steering you to something where you never expected to be. Cliché but it's true. Figure out what will make want to wake up everyday, despite the challenges.

Good luck!

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Mark’s Answer

My recommendation is to do what you love to do and are good at. It is that simple.
If you don't know for sure, you can take an interest AND aptitude test this summer. There are many free online.
Then find when declaring is required. Sample classes that will count towards a degree your first year.

Mark recommends the following next steps:

Obtain a copy of the course catalog
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Determine the courses that look of interest to you
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Identify if they fit into a major
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For the first year, schedule the courses you think you will like and excel in and see if they meet a major
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Know the add/drop rules and see change if the course or professor isn't to your liking.
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