Choosing a major is an important decision for college students. The right major can set students on a path to a rewarding and successful career, which can lead to a more fulfilling life.
The gravity of such a decision is one reason many college students delay choosing their majors until after they enter college. Students often find entering college as an undecided affords them the opportunity to explore various courses of study without committing themselves to any particular subject. Though that approach can work while students are still underclassmen, many advisors recommend students choose a major before their third year of college.
The following tips can help students ensure they make the right decision about which path to take for the remainder of their college careers.
• Visit your school’s career center. College career centers are a great resource for college students as they narrow down their options concerning a major. Many career centers have programs in place designed to match students’ interests and personalities with courses of study. Utilize these programs if you are having trouble matching an interest with a major.
• Take action. Classrooms can be great places to discover a passion for a particular field of study, but lectures or entry-level courses are not always enough to spark interest. If there are particular fields of study that interest you, find extracurricular clubs that are associated with those majors. Such clubs may host speakers or seminars that can give you greater insight into the field than you might glean from the classroom. Attend such events when possible, and bring any questions you might have about the course of study they are associated with.
• Speak to upperclassmen. Underclassmen may make up the majority of students in entry-level courses, but you may encounter some upperclassmen who have already chosen their majors in such classes from time to time. Such students can be valuable resources for other students looking to gain greater insight into courses of study. Ask about particular classes and professors who upperclassmen found particularly engaging and encouraging.
• Pursue an internship. The hands-on experience provided by an internship is a great way for students to learn if a particular line of work is for them. Internships can provide an insider’s look into particular professions and industries. While internships might once have been designated for older students, many businesses now have more relaxed eligibility requirements regarding their internship programs, making it possible for students of all grade levels to gain some practical professional experience while still in school.
Choosing a major is one of the most important decisions young students will make. Taking a careful and thoughtful approach to such a decision can help students select majors that leads to rewarding careers.