5 Tips To Help You Decide On Your College Major
Big decisions shape the course of our lives, and the biggest one you face as a young person in high school is choosing a college major. It may not appear to be a big decision because you are always free to change your mind. However, if you come to a clear decision sooner rather than later, you will have to do far less backtracking, and you’ll save time and money by staying on course with the right classes. You’ll also move ahead in your career much faster.
Although it’s a lot of pressure to make the right decision, it’s practical to make the effort to engage in the process of career planning. Since desires and goals change over time, especially when you’re young and rapidly discovering new things about yourself and the world, how do you stay consistent with your original choice of college major?
Here are some ideas on how to make a good decision when it comes to choosing your college major:
1. Think about the positive influences in your life.
If your father, for example, appreciates historical autographs, then you vicariously understand the thrill of owning an original document. For instance, if he has framed Einstein’s unpublished letter on Classical and Quantum Physics, which includes his celebrated statement that “god does not play dice,” then he is probably fascinated by the world of science. If you share that same interest in scientific advancement, then you might want to consider a career in the sciences, perhaps, even in physics itself.
Perhaps, it was not a family member who made a deep impression on you, but maybe a teacher who encouraged you in art class and was also passionate about taking the class to visit the latest art collections at well-known art museums. Infused with a sense of how the artistic sensibility brings out the truth and beauty of things, you could turn your deep appreciation for art into a career. You might do well majoring in art. You might also be inspired to take up teaching to emulate your mentor and influence the next generation.
2. Think about historical events that have shaped your worldview.
Sometimes it’s not particular people that you know who have inspired you, but certain historical events. You may, for instance, have been inspired by reading about Rosa Parks, the young black woman who refused give up her bus seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama for a white person and sparked a nationwide outcry to end segregation in all public facilities. Her defiance against an oppressive policy might inspire you to fight for more equality and justice in the world. In that case, you may want to be a lawyer or major in political science.
3. Make a top ten list of interests.
Make a list of at least 10 things that interest you and then see what they might have in common. Perhaps, you’ll discover more than one passion, which will get you thinking about possible combinations. For instance, an interest in art and technology can be combined through the field of scientific illustration. All kinds of textbooks require good artists to make the ideas much clearer.
4. Think about significant personal experiences.
Have you’ve had a personal experience that changed your life? Perhaps, you or a loved one were seriously ill, and as a result of a hospitalization, you were inspired by the doctors, nurses, and the surgeon who help save lives. In this case, you may want to look into the medical field.
5. Think about your personality.
If you love to study deep disciplines like history or science or philosophy and share your discoveries with others, then you may want to think about a career as a professor. Perhaps, you’re an extrovert and enjoy making things happen; you also enjoy making a difference and have a knack for getting along with all kinds of people. Think about a business major. If you’re not sure what career would be good for your personality, then take personality quizzes and ask family and friends about some of your qualities. You’ll be happy if you find a career that expresses your uniqueness.
Many people make decisions about their majors based on external things—parental expectations, financial rewards, social position, and so on. In order to find a major that you will stick with, you also need to be introspective. Think about the personalities, events, and influences that have shaped your life.