A Student’s Guide to Choosing A College Major

June 19, 2019

You are ecstatic at graduating high school. The innumerable possibilities of college education enter your thoughts. At first, it all seems exciting. But suddenly, you feel unable to pick just one major.

Why are you expected to do that anyway?

What if you make a mistake?

Which factors should you be considering while making this choice?

How is it fair to know now what you’d want to do for the rest of your life?

As these questions begin to crowd you during every waking moment, you begin panicking. This is where our guide comes into the picture. We will help you choose your college major, but first…

What is it?

As a college student, the subject area you choose to specialize in becomes your major. Usually, more than a third – and sometimes even more – college courses will be based on your major in some way. Depending on the college, you may even get to design your own major! A minor, on the other hand, is the field secondary to your major degree program. They aren’t a prerequisite for every degree. Neither do they mandate taking of a large number of courses.

How do you Choose One?

You may choose your college major by basing the selection on any number of factors. We cover some of those below:

Choose One Based on Popularity

Certain fields of employment can gain popularity – whether internationally or locally. When you go by what is popular, you are basing your selection on certain career-related factors. You consider whether the degree you earn will increase job availability for you or not. This data shows the rising popularity of various majors due to employment rates.

Choose One Based on Earning Potential

This way of selecting a major is closely related to the previous point. But it is directly based on how much you may earn. In short, you are considering future earning potential for yourself to decide which major to pick. If this is the way you want to go, then check out PayScale.com. The site shows that professionals earning high paid salaries chose one of the following as their college majors:

  1. Engineering
  2. Computer science
  3. Actuarial mathematics
  4. Physics
  5. Government
  6. Statistics
  7. Economics

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Choose one Based on Work Environment

This method of selection is more about your personality than the work environment. But hear us out. Some jobs require you to work collaboratively with others. For others, you may be able to work on your own for most of the time. If you are an introvert, you will likely prefer the second option to the first one. Each student has a unique personality. The job of an auditing accounting would include spending time with employees of companies that you’re auditing. In their line of work, a scientist researching the mating patterns of penguins will seldom see people – if ever.

Choose One Based on the College Catalog

Many students stick to the subjects they were familiar with while in high school. This can often be a mistake because there is no shortage of majors out there. Unlike your school, most colleges have a wide range of subjects to offer to their students.

Just open any college catalog, and you will see at least the following academic regions:

  • Anthropology
  • Astronomy
  • Forestry
  • Historiography
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Advertising
  • Archaeology
  • Data Analysis
  • Histology
  • Neuroscience

Educational institutions also keep adding more majors. So, pick your local state university and then study its catalog for about 10-15 minutes. Focus on the list of the majors it offers. Then put it down and write down the names you saw on the list. It is highly unlikely that you’d remember them all. Forget about the ones that you aren’t able to recall. Look at the ones that stuck in your memory. There must be something about that drew you to those subjects.

Next, go online, and look these majors up. Find out which career fields do they lead to, how much it pays, the working conditions, etc. You may end up with the major of your dreams!

Choose One Based on Academic Strengths

During high school, you may have come across certain subjects you excelled at. Those were your academic strengths. If you stick to those even when applying to college, you might come away with a great choice – and career — in the future. Be it biochemistry or physics, just make sure that you are making the right choice. After all, a choice of available careers and a great earning potential won’t do you any good if you aren’t interested in a certain subject!

The choice of a college major is important. But so is the whole bevy of experiences rolled into one educational phase that we call college. College isn’t just about studies. Think of it as your first experience outside of high school. Or the first step into adulthood. Or forming friendships that might last forever. Choose wisely and experience everything that your college has to offer you!