12 tips for selecting a college major
Choosing a college major can feel overwhelming. It's a big decision that can shape the rest of your life, but it can also be exciting and empowering.
We’ve put together a list of 12 tips for selecting a college major that will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your passions, skills, interests and career goals.
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Start by getting to know yourself. Identify your strengths, weaknesses, values, personality and interests. Consider what makes you happy, fulfilled and motivated. Reflect on past experiences and successes. This will help you identify potential areas of interest that align with who you are and what you want to do. The best major is the one that fits your unique skills, talents and gifts.
2. Research majors
Once you have a sense of who you are and what you want out of your college experience, it's time to explore your options. Look into different majors that interest you and research their requirements, professors, job prospects and alumni network. Explore different colleges and universities that offer these majors and compare their programs, campus culture and location.
3. Set goals
It’s okay if you don’t have a clear roadmap of what you want to do. Create a list of goals you hope to accomplish. Try relating them to a specific field you might be interested in pursuing after college. This will help you narrow down majors and careers that will help you achieve them.
4. Meet with professors
Some of the most important relationships you will make during your college experience are with the professors who teach your classes. Schedule a meeting with your professors. Learn from them about the field including potential job prospects and internship opportunities. Ask them questions about the curriculum that the school offers. This will help you gain an inside perspective of the major.
5. Look into job prospects
It’s important to understand what career options you will have with your future degree. Some jobs pay well with just a bachelor’s degree. See ways in which you can get internships and how to utilize those opportunities to form strong connections with those in your future field. This could set you on a more direct course right after graduation.
6. Talk with family and friends
Your family and friends know you and care about your wellbeing. They can tell you things about yourself and your studies you might not have considered on your own. Schedule time to sit down with your family and discuss what you want out of a college experience – and what you might want to do after you graduate from college.
7. Take career assessments
Career assessments can help you narrow down options for professions that are best suited to your skills and strengths. Take career assessments such as personality tests or obtain a free career assessment at a career center. Central Michigan also offers these assessments through our Career Development Center. Take the results with a grain of salt – think about how you can apply what you learn.
8. Review your major requirements
Certain majors require prerequisite courses in topics like calculus. Make sure that you have the capabilities or requirements before you declare a major. Do not overlook what you need to do to enter and succeed in the field.
9. Consider the cost
College is an investment in your future, and the best college education is one that you can afford and sets you on a path for success in life. You’ll also want to consider the cost of textbooks as part of your affordability plan. Financial aid tools like the FAFSA can help make college more affordable with scholarships, grants, and loans.
10. Get involved
The best way to decide what you want to pursue in college is to give it the old college try. Join clubs, participate in conferences, and extracurriculars to find out more about your potential major. This way, not only can you learn more, but you can develop a sense of community and support.
11. Consult your advisor
Speak to your college advisor. They can give you insight into specific courses and programming that relates to your potential major. They can also talk to you about potential future career paths. Ask your advisor questions about the courses you can take to prepare for your major, what elective credits will benefit you, and ways to find an internship.
12. Take additional courses
Take additional courses in areas that interest you. This can help encourage your own exploration and lead to finding your own passions within a field. Consider taking AP placement courses, which can earn you college credit – Central Michigan offers credit for more than 25 College Board Advance Placement exams.
Selecting a college major can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. We hope these 12 tips have given you the confidence and guidance to make an informed decision about your future. Remember that choosing a college major is a journey, so enjoy the process of exploring your interests and passions. And finally, remember that you’re not locked in! People change their minds and shift to different paths – allow this to be a learning experience for you.
Central Michigan University is here to help you find the perfect college major for you. Find your program today.