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How will I realize what major is for me?

There are so many academic areas that I am interested in from sociology to political science to media studies. I have no idea how I will choose because each interest me for a different reason. #college #media studies


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Elle’s Answer

I think the best way to figure out what major is best for you is by trying things out your first year of college. I originally went to college thinking I wanted to major in psychology but after joining the campus television club my freshman year, I realized I love broadcast journalism and switched my major.

So my advice is to try out things you think you would be interested in. If you like them, sign up for classes that are related to what you like and go from there.


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Stefania’s Answer

Hi Riley,

It can indeed be a confusing and overwhelming time. Know this: you don't have to have it all figured out right now. In fact, many people decide to switch their careers well into their 30s, 40s and 50s. What's more, many majors have many transferable skills and marketability, especially in media and social sciences.


I would start by taking a look at the list of courses for each of the majors you are interested in. Take a look at the descriptions of the courses and see which appeal to you. Ask yourself what it is about those courses that actually appeal to you. Hopefully, that can narrow down your focus. Then go online and look up some job descriptions and careers for sociologists, political science and media studies. You can visit https://www.mynextmove.org/ or https://www.bls.gov/ooh/. These are a great resource that will help tell you the kinds of jobs, skills and knowledge that apply to different kinds of work. Does anything appeal to you? If you are really torn, I'd start with coursework in areas like media or sociology because they have a wide range of career paths you can embark on. Another exploratory activity you can do is take a self-assessment on My Next Move called the Interest Profiler. It's free and formatted like a survey https://www.mynextmove.org/explore/ip). But take the results with a grain of salt -- it's designed to be directional and inspiring, not written in stone. If you are a caring service-oriented person, it doesn't mean you have to go become a nurse, for example. It's really meant to help you start thinking about your aptitudes and areas that you may not have even considered.


There are two other things you can do as you get further along in your studies. One, talk to people. If you can locate individuals, even within the school departments, that know people working in this field, it's worth a conversation. Finding and speaking with people who are working in these fields is a great way to find out the good, but also the challenges of each field. Don't be afraid to ask someone for an "informational interview" as part of your exploration. You will be surprised at how many people are willing to help. Next, if you have an opportunity to volunteer or participate in an internship, I highly recommend it. It's a good way to see hands-on if certain areas are what you expected. Good Luck to you!

Stefania recommends the following next steps:

Take a look at the entire course list and class descriptions for each area of study you are interested in. Consider what appeals to you and importantly, why it appeals to you.
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Do a little online research and digging around potential career paths and jobs within each of those areas. Visit My Next Move and the Occupational Outlook Handbook to get a better understanding of the types of skills, experiences, salaries and knowledge required and the types of jobs available for each area of study
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Take a free self-assessment on My Next Move as a directional guide that may help you with your exploration.
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Talk to people and network. Engage in some informational interviews to find out more about what it's like to work in these fields. Start with your professors and see if they would be willing to help you make some initial connections.
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