Choosing a College Major – Part I

Choosing your college major is no small decision. This choice will influence the course of your college career and potentially the rest your life! Many students change majors multiple times during their college career. This indecisiveness can be costly, not just financially, but academically, emotionally, and socially. A little research goes a long way and it is never too early to think about your academic focus. The following tips will help clarify what is needed to successfully choose that ever elusive college major.

Find your passion

It’s going to be a long four years if you choose a major that you do not enjoy. Before you consider a specific major, it is critical to reflect on your interests and long-term goals. Talk to family and friends about career options, but do not allow yourself to be pushed in one direction. Being pushed into a career that you are unsure about is a recipe for disaster.

Strengths and weaknesses

Pay attention to the subjects in which you excel. If you are uncertain about your strengths, solicit help from your teachers. They can provide insight into your strengths as well as your weaknesses, which are just as important to identify. Your teachers can also give examples of college majors that you may not have previously considered. This is an important step in your decision process. The advice is free and your teachers may even offer to write a letter of recommendation if they see you are truly interested in a particular subject.

Work load

Work load varies significantly depending on the major. This is critical to consider, especially if your major does not compliment your natural abilities. If you will be working while in school, the majors requiring long hours of study such as engineering or architecture are out of the question. There are many majors with relatively flexible hours. Your school counselor can provide guidance as to which options will be best for you.

Find schools that offer your major

This may sound exceedingly simple, but make sure the universities that interest you actually offer the major you want to study.  The availability of your chosen major in your preferred geographic area can have a profound impact on your college search. If you have picked an uncommon major and cannot afford to relocate, it is important to verify that local universities offer your selection.


When you have been accepted to a university, remember that not all the offered majors are equivalent in reputation. Majors that are more well-known will probably have more professors and more money for facilities and scholarships. On the other hand, popular majors are usually more competitive, which could lead to large class sizes and less time with professors. This will also be the case for graduate school as well as jobs. Speak to academic advisors, alumni, and current students to get the inside scoop.

In the next post we’ll review specific majors including the most popular and highest paying majors.

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