What Major Is Right for Me? Here's How to Find Out
If you’re about to head off to college, you may be panicking about the idea of choosing a major. After all, how do you make a choice that’s going to cost you tens of thousands of dollars and impact the entirety of your life? The ubiquitous, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” has morphed from a harmless question into an ugly challenge: “What major is right for me?”
Picking a major is a matter of knowing what you like and what you’re good at. And you have some time to make your decision. Read on to learn how to pick the perfect major for you, stress-free.
When You Have to Declare a Major
If you’re not at all sure what you want to do with your life, don’t worry. You aren’t alone; in fact, about a third of college students change their major at some point in their program. But the good news is you don’t have to decide what you want your major to be the second you hit campus.
Most colleges don’t require you to declare a major until you start taking major-specific classes. In most cases, this doesn’t start until your junior year, so you don’t have to declare a major until the end of your sophomore year. Before then, you’re taking the same core classes everyone takes, and you have time to explore what you want to do.
What Are You Interested In?
The first question you need to ask yourself when preparing to declare a major is what you’re interested in. Even if your interest doesn’t have a specific major, it can help guide you in the direction of the school you want to look at. By picking a major you’re interested in, you maximize your chance of landing in a career you love.
If you’re interested in science, math, literature, or history, your major choice will be simple. But if you’re interested in video games, why not look at a computer science or graphic design degree? If you like fashion and shopping, consider something in the design field, and if you’re into sports, look into a Kinesiology or sports medicine degree.
What Are You Good At?
Aside from your interests, you should also take a look at what you’re good at. You can absolutely work through a program that challenges you, but you should know it’s going to take more discipline and years of hard work. Picking a major in a field you’re good at can make it easier for you to succeed along the way.
Take a look at which subjects have always come easier for you and which ones you make better grades in. Do you find that you’re finishing your math homework ahead of everyone else, or can you always remember what happened in your assigned literature reading? Take a look at the programs in those areas and see if any of those interest you.
What Do You Want Your Legacy to Be?
Asking the question, “What do you want your legacy to be?” when you’re eighteen may seem overwhelming. And it’s a big question to be sure. But if you can get an idea of what you’d like to see when you look back at your life, it can give you an idea of where you ought to go.
When you’re old and gray, do you want to look back and see a life spent helping people? Do you want to know you made important discoveries that changed how we interact with our world? Do you want to know you worked hard and left a good inheritance for your children and grandchildren?
How Much Money Do You Want to Make?
On the subject of inheritance, the question of money is also important when considering a major. Certainly you shouldn’t base your entire career decision on which career makes the most money; that’s a great way to end up in a job you detest. But you don’t want to go into a field that will have you stressed about money for the rest of your life either.
If it’s important to you to make six figures a year, you may want to take a look at some of the STEM fields. You’ll also probably need to plan on getting some sort of advanced degree, either a Master’s or a Ph.D. If money isn’t as important to you, some of the liberal arts may be a good fit for you.
What Sort of Job Do You Want?
You should also consider what you want your work to look like every day when choosing your major. Some jobs require you to be on your feet all the time, managing students, conducting experiments, or running a business. Other jobs allow you a little more down time, as well as some more flexible hours.
Do you want to dedicate your life to work, or would you like to have more flexible work hours that give you more time at home? Would you rather work more inside or more outside? Do you want to work on your own, or is it important to you to be part of a strong team?
Declaring Multiple Majors
After you’ve answered all these questions, you may find yourself looking at two majors you can’t choose between. Or your chosen field may require multiple skills that you want to pursue degrees in. If you find yourself in this position, you can choose to declare multiple majors.
Declaring a double or triple major means you’re going to have to take two or three times as many degree-specific classes in your last two years. It’s going to mean a lot of hard work, so be prepared for that. If you have more than three areas you want to major in, consider looking into a general studies degree that will allow you to pursue multiple areas of study.
Answer “What Major Is Right for Me?”
Choosing a major is a big decision and one that you should not take lightly. In order to answer the question, “What major is right for me?” you’ll need to think about what you want your life to look like. What do you like to do, what are you interested in, and what do you want your work to be like?
If you’d like to give yourself the best chance at success in college and in your career, check out the rest of our site at The Honor Society. We have information about scholarships and a career center to help you get the best start in life. Join today to start living your best life in college and beyond.