How to Choose a College Major

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Should I go to College

How to Choose a College Major

So you’ve picked a school but what are you going to study? Don’t know how to pick the right college major? You might be thinking, “should I go to college?” I’ve compiled a list of things to contemplate when you are considering how to choose a college major.

How to Choose a College Major

Level of interest

Do you enjoy the subject? You are more likely to be successful if you enjoy your major. If it bores you, you will likely be unmotivated and may suffer academically.

Do you have a natural talent or skill?

Don’t discount any natural talents or skills, instead, let those skills guide you to success.

Possible careers?

What sort of job will your degree prepare you for? Will you need additional schooling to achieve your career goals? Should I go to college? Is your major geared toward one particular trade (for example; engineering or accounting), or can you apply it to many careers? Or, is your major focused on subjects, such as, English, history, or psychology that teach marketable, non-trade specific skills such as reasoning, critical thinking, writing and communication?

Guide to Choosing College Majors:

What are the requirements?

What courses and how many will you have to take within the major, as well as, supplementary courses outside your major?  Accounting majors take courses in marketing, economics, and business, including, specific accounting courses. Does the program require a minimum grade point average (GPA) for admission and program eligibility? Will you need a minor? Will you be required to complete an internship?


Are there specific courses you must complete prior to engaging in major specific courses? Prerequisites are often lower level introductory courses that establish a basic set of knowledge that will be referred to and built upon in subsequent classes. For example if you wanted to major in psychology you would most likely be required to take courses introducing theories, models and major researchers in the field.

Evaluate the instructors

How qualified are the professors? Where did they go to school? What sort of degrees do they hold? Where have they previously taught? Professor reputations are important, so research their strengths and weaknesses or ask students familiar with their teaching styles. Is a certain professor notorious for being rigid or difficult? A good student-professor relationship can benefit you when you begin applying to graduate schools or jobs and when you need recommendations.

Program reputation

Does the program receive national attention? What do graduates think of the program? What sort of jobs do alumni hold?

Career Development Tips

Are you considering a double major?

A double major can be a huge undertaking. This can be fruitful but you will need to be more organized when planning class schedules and selecting classes. Some majors will not allow you the time to devote to a second major. Be informed and prepared to work!

Check out introductory courses in a variety of majors

These courses will be general and give you a better understanding of what to expect from the program as a whole. Remember, you may not like every single class or topic in your major. I had a friend who loved cost accounting but hated her tax accounting class.

Browse the course catalog

Familiarize yourself with the policies and requirements. Read the college catalog of courses regarding the differences in requirements for an Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s of Arts, Bachelor’s of Science, Bachelor’s of Fine Arts, etc. Each degree will require a different set of courses. Also, check your college’s general education requirements. These are often a set core of courses every student must take in order to earn their degree. Check for overlaps and conflicts with your major. Some departments won’t give credit for certain courses in a major that were used for general education requirements.

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Major:

Visit with your advisor

College advisors know the ropes. They are there to help you navigate the system. If all of this is overwhelming, relax! If you have an advisor who just isn’t helping you, see if your college has a set of general advisors set up for undecided students. These advisors will often have access to information about general college topics (deadlines, procedures) as well as tools to help you find information regarding specific degree programs. If you already have a major but are unsatisfied with your advisor, consider asking for a reassignment. Often this can be done in the department office.

Talk to other students

They can often provide insight and experience that will be beneficial. An upperclassman can be your best friend when it comes to figuring out the system. Not only do they know the best places to eat, but they might know the best places to buy and sell books. And, know the best advisors and best teachers.

Don’t be afraid to change your mind

When you’re faced with the question, “should I go to college?” there are many obstacles to consider. In the long run, it’s better to spend an extra year or two in college, than to be miserable or regret your decisions. People change their majors all the time. While it’s a big decision, it is only a piece of the larger puzzle.

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