If you had to do one job for the rest of your life, what would it be? Your major doesn’t necessarily dictate this, but it is helpful on setting you on the path you’ll be on for the rest of your life. Of course, that’s not necessarily true in all cases—you can go to college for one thing, and wind up working in a completely different field—but your major can help you get a head start on your desired career.
But, the first step in choosing a major is asking yourself: What do you want to do for the rest of your life?
If you’re unsure, some colleges have a program for people with unspecified majors, that help expose students to the benefits of different majors.
Or, if you choose to identify as an unspecified major but your college does not have one of those programs, sampling classes through your general education requirement might help you decided on the classes and eventual job you’re interested in.
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If you can’t find a major that satisfies all your requirements—say, you’re a science person who’s mainly interested in anthropology, but you’re also interested in ancient literature, you can minor in English to supplement your anthropology major.
Minors can make your resume seem more impressive, and widen your skill set without committing to a full major.
I am an aspiring English major, and I’m focusing in two concentrations: literary studies and creative writing. Because I want to work in the publishing industry, I am also minoring in marketing, and then just for fun, I’m minoring in German. I hope that my minors will make me more competitive in the job market.
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I have been lucky to know what I enjoy doing since before elementary school. I know many people who have faced the opposite problem, though—they are entering college without knowing what they want to study, or knowing that they might not be able study what they originally planned to. In these cases, it might help to think about what you want in life.
But, not everyone chooses their major for same reasons (and that's okay). My brother wants to live comfortably and, though he doesn’t have a real passion for banking, he’s looking into the career because he knows that banking is a stable occupation field with a good salary. My friend is studying biomedical engineering because science has always interested her, and she knows that there are many job opportunities out there for scientists. Combining your passions with job prospects will most certainly benefit you later in life.
You can always change majors, but depending on how far along you are in your studies, you might add a couple of semesters onto your education, which can be both frustrating and expensive. There is always that option though, so shouldn’t feel like you’re stuck with the one decision you made entering college. As you take classes and explore different avenues of study, you can learn and grow, and you might find that you enjoy doing something different.
Knowing what you want and knowing who you are is the most important step to choosing a college major, but those questions can be the most difficult to answer.
Though it can be nerve-wracking to think about your future, introspection now will help you understand your wants and needs better, and set the course of your future.