If you are freaking out because you have absolutely no idea about what you want to major in, or if you’ve narrowed the choices down but still can’t decide, take a deep breath and relax. It’s completely normal to feel uncertain or anxious about selecting a major. After all, isn’t choosing a major a critical step on your career and life path? If you select the wrong major, aren’t you then destined for a life of failure and underachievement? Well, kinda and no. While choosing a major helps you identify your career interests and then directs your path of study in college, it does not set in concrete how your professional life will actually turn out. You are not destined for a life of poverty and failure if you select the “wrong” major. The HuffPost reports that “93% of employers believe that critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills are more important than a job candidate’s undergraduate field of study.” So although picking a college major is something you have to do, don’t stress!
Here are some tips to help navigate the process of selecting your college major:
- Think. You have plenty of time to decide what major you want, especially if you are a college freshman. Don’t rush your decision or feel like you have to have an answer when you’re asked for the millionth time, “What’s your major?” There are endless classes to choose from, so why not dabble in a few and see what really piques your interest?
- Weigh out the pros and cons. Grab a sheet of paper and write down a column of pros for the major and then a cons column. If your cons outweigh your pros, then maybe the major that you thought you wanted may not be the right one for you.
- Talk to an advisor. This is why everyone in college has an academic advisor. These professionals have generally seen and heard it all. They understand your concerns and anxieties and can help guide you in choosing a major.
- Change your mind. It is absolutely okay to change your mind once you’ve made a choice about your major. You are not locked into a major: you can change your field of study whenever you like. A point of caution when changing your major is that doing so may delay your graduation because additional classes may be needed for the new major. There’s also the financial consideration when a four-year degree turns into a five- or even six-year degree. So, while you shouldn’t just stick with a major that you don’t want, consider all the implications and make an informed decision.
- Ask the upperclassmen. Don’t be afraid to ask the older students. They were once underclassmen, just like you, and faced the same anxieties and uncertainties. They will likely tell you that they changed their major at least one, if not many, times and that it ultimately did not matter in the scheme of things
I, personally, changed my major several times, and now, as a senior, I know that I made the right decision in doing so. Sure, some people enter college knowing exactly what they want to do and never stray from that path. But, for the rest of us, I hope these tips not only help you relax but also guide you in choosing a major that is perfect for you.