High school seniors typically fret about their future college major. While it is true that some students have to strap themselves into a carefully matriculated four- or five-year path (such as engineering), other students have time to explore various courses of study.
Questions to consider are as follows:
- What activities do I enjoy?
- What high school (or college) courses have I enjoyed the most?
- What courses were my academic strengths?
- What kinds of jobs do students with that major typically pursue?
Another consideration should be personality type. Students often have a poor understanding of who they are as a person. For example, I once had a very shy girl student who was convinced she wanted to go into public relations or sales. I encouraged her to jump into leadership responsibilities and community service so that she would be more involved with the public. When I found out later that she was studying accounting, I knew that was a better match.
You can Google “personality test” or “Myers-Briggs Personality Test” and find a variety of online tests that can help you determine whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, whether you are a person who is more sensing or more intuitive, whether you are more thinking or more feeling, and whether you are more judging or more perceiving. (A quick one is at http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp. NOTE: Most of these sites are selling something–buyer, be aware!) Or . . . you could just ask Mom or Dad. They know you best. Plus, I’ve often found that students choose answers for what they WANT to be, rather than who they ARE.
Many colleges will allow you to enroll as an “undecided” student. That means that you do not have to choose a major right from the get-go. Instead, you take courses that will meet general education requirements for graduation. Chances are that you will change your major twice during the course of your college years anyway.
These steps will help you choose your major:
1. Talk to an advisor about your major options.
2. Enroll in a major and career exploration course at your college.
3. Think through how your interests, values, skills, and personality could work together toward an interesting career path.
4. Generate a list of possible majors and research them.
5. Read the descriptions of the courses you would have to take. If they sound terrible, that’s probably not the major for you!
6. Think about the pros and cons of each major and take an introductory course (one that will meet graduation requirements anyway).
7. Ask questions of professors, advisors, and students in those majors.
Remember that most majors do not equal careers. There can be many different careers that could spring from a major you choose.
University of Nevada, Reno, College of Liberal Arts for some of the above information, as well as the following links:
What can I do with a major in ______________?
Just a personal note . . . my daughter called me last night. After two painful years of studying difficult mathematics courses and lab sciences, she is “so excited” about taking a full load of upper division courses in rhetoric (the art of argumentation/persuasion). Her initial goal is unchanged: she wants to help people. Working for a nonprofit organization will allow her to do just that . . . just as much as she would have experienced in a medical field. Similarly, life will lead you to just the right path!