How do I Know whether a College Major is Right For Me?

Friday, April 30, 2021

This is one of the most recurrent questions among college-bound students who are about to embark upon their higher education journey and are not sure what would be best for them. There are some tips those students can take into consideration that may help them in their journey of self-discovery. 

One of the hardest and most important decisions to make in our lives is what major to pursue. This decision will have a long-term impact both in our professional and personal lives, since it will determine our future job opportunities and earning potential. 

Even though there are some other important factors that contribute to the determining of our future, including skills, personality, perseverance, among other qualities, it all starts with the major. The major you choose will certainly have a huge impact on your academic as well as your professional success, since it will determine what other degrees you can pursue and the job opportunities you’ll have once you graduate.

As important as this decision is, you must be sure that you choose the right major for you. How can you do that? By following the tips that we’re going to mention below.

1. First of all, you should ask yourself these questions

Choosing a major involves a process of self-discovery. If you want to make sure the major you choose really suits you, your needs, interests and expectations, you need to know yourself deeply. In order to do that, you should ask yourself the following questions and make sure you answer them with honesty, otherwise you will be fooling yourself:

  • What am I passionate about?
  • How do I want to impact the world?
  • Who has inspired me?
  • What are my strengths and qualities?

2. Then, you should pick a major according to different aspects:
  • Abilities: Understanding what you are good at will allow you to know which kinds of career paths you could be good at, which is a major step towards discovering which major you should choose.
  • Values: This has to do with your core beliefs and principles, which will help you study something you enjoy. 
  • Interests: If you are interested in what you study, it will help you enjoy it. Plus, if you are interested in something, why not get paid for it?
  • Passions: Being passionate about what you do will help you both enjoy your work, do everything at your disposal to do it right, and allow you to grow in the field.
Even though it is important to consider all these aspects, by no means should you base your decision in only one of them, as they may change over time or you may discover later on you had some abilities you hadn’t realized you had. These are only aimed at guiding you, but not at limiting you.

3. Consider the future

As we just mentioned, it is important that you consider your current passions, interests and abilities to choose a major. However, the word “current” is what you should consider the most. As they are your “current” interests, passions, etc., they may and most likely will change in the future. For that reason, you should let the door open for possibilities, meaning that you should try and choose a major that doesn’t limit your opportunities neither now nor in the long run.
  • Will I enjoy this in the future?
  • What are my expectations in 10 years from now?
  • Will this field be employable?
  • Will it pay?

Performing extensive research into the fields you are interested in will help you discover its prospective employability and earning potential, which are also important when choosing a major, since your decision should not only be based on what you are passionate about. Sometimes, passion is not enough to make a living out of. And, even though it is important to be interested in what we do, passion and interests will not allow you to have a comfortable life.

4. Give yourself some time to process every option
It is essential to start considering your major choice as early in high school as possible, since it will allow you to have a lot of time to consider all your options, choose what you think you want to do and change your mind many times until you find the right one for you.

Even if you are starting college, you still have time, since you can change majors if you are not sure about the one you chose when you first started. Sticking with the major you chose in the past only because you feel it means you lost precious time is not the best thing to do, as you should already know. 

The journey through college and university is also a self-discovery process, so don’t feel bad if you realize you are on the wrong track.

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