Choosing the Right Major: Aligning Interests with Opportunities

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College Major Tips

The best thing about being a college student involves the freedom to choose what to study and which career pathways to pursue. However, with many of the choices we make in life, responsibility comes hand in hand with this freedom. The choices you make during undergraduate years can ultimately shape the overall tone of your experience, determining whether it’s a fulfilling journey or a less favorable one.  

Choosing or changing a major is one of the most prevalent worries shared by college students globally. That said, it’s reassuring that you’re not alone in grappling with this decision. According to the U.S. Department of Education, about one-third of undergraduates change their major at least once, and one-tenth of students even change their major more than once. Graduating with a major different from the one initially chosen has become so commonplace that colleges now readily admin many students with an undeclared major.  

Reflect on Your Interests 

Think about the subject and courses you excelled at in high school. Did you have any extracurricular activities you particularly enjoyed in school? Were any of the gen-ed courses you took during your freshman and sophomore years intriguing 

The simplest and most optimal method for selecting a career is to align it with your genuine passions and interests. The more you enjoy what you are learning, the more motivated you are to continue your education. This also increases the likelihood of integrating your studies into your career or lifestyle. 

Consult with a Career Coach  

As the population of students with undecided majors or those who change majors increases, many schools now offer career counseling services to provide guidance and support to students who may feel uncertain. You can talk to an expert to find out which major aligns with your future goals and interests. Some schools have major experience mentors,’ where they have students from each major discuss their coursework and experiences. Often, you can find the job fields and titles of alumni in each major.  

Colleges understand that their responsibility extends beyond the completion of undergraduate or graduate studies. They recognize that the success of their alumni directly influences the reputation of the institution. Hence, schools establish career centers to support students in navigating major and career decisions. Those uncertain about their academic path should make use of these valuable services. 

Assess Your Skills 

Think of strengths and weaknesses, not limited to your unique personality and traits. Do you thrive under stress and competition, or do you crack under pressure? Do you prefer working in an office or do you enjoy work settings that require more movement and flexibility? Often, the advanced major courses reflect the work environment you and your colleagues will most likely pursue.   

Compare and contrast is also a great method to figure out which areas to study. Talk to other friends with different majors and check out what courses they are studying and struggling with. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine yourself with that major. Join one of their lectures and see if it interests or bores you.   

Always Keep an Open Mind 

Unless it’s a specialized program, committing to one or two majors doesn’t confine you to a limited number of career paths. Declaring a political science major, for example, doesn’t necessitate pursuing law school and becoming an attorney. While your peers in the same major may share similar goals and career trajectories, entering the job market will expose you to individuals from diverse and unexpected backgrounds. Stay open-minded and be ready to adapt to the new information and experiences that come your way. 

Consider the Future & Long-Term Goals 

We all heard that Artificial Intelligence is going to take away most of our jobs. A.I. has proved that it can do certain tasks quicker and better than humans. This can be a threat to the younger generation who are about to enter the workforce and build a career. Do research on whether your major and job aspects can thrive under advanced technology. Think about what makes you unique and whether you and your future job can adapt to those circumstances.   

Trust your skills and potential during your college years. Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance, even when you think it is too late to change your major and it turns out to be more difficult than you imagined. Choosing a college major is a serious responsibility, but it should not be considered as an obstacle to your end game. After all, your journey does not end with your undergraduate major.