Picking a college major can be daunting. You look ahead and figure that this decision won’t just be for the next four years, but for the rest of your life. I know how you feel. When I was graduating High School I had no idea what I wanted to study. I went back and forth between 2-3 majors and was still unsure of my decision a year into college. Although this is an important decision, I believe you can make it without stressing.
1) You Don’t Need to Know Right Away
It might be nice to know before entering college what major you want to pursue, but it’s not necessary. For the most part, your first two years of college will be stacked with general education requirements; math, science, history, English, etc. All students have to complete them, so it doesn’t really matter if you don’t know what major you want to pursue just yet. Personally, I finally settled on a major by the time I entered college, but I quickly saw how it wasn’t going to effect me for awhile; after all, I had to take a bunch of classes first before I could really start learning about my chosen field.
2) You Can Shop Around
Good shoppers know how to take advantage of good deals. Don’t be afraid to have a similar mentality when it comes to picking your major. If you have a handful of options that you’re considering, set up times to speak with a professor in each department; ask them of the benefits of studying their subject, what you can do with that degree, and what classes will be required for the major. If you cannot speak with a professor in person, look up his email address and contact him that way. Additionally, look up statistics on the average salaries for each major that you are thinking about. Money isn’t everything, but you should have all the facts you can to make a responsible decision; after all, you don’t want to pay $120,000 in school loans for a degree that has a very limited job market and little to no salary.
3) Business or Pleasure?
These two don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but you should know where you stand. Are you a person who values making a lot of money more than enjoying what you do? Or, do you care more about personal fulfillment than monetary gain? Again, these do not have to be mutually exclusive for you but its helpful to ask the question. For myself, I found that I much rather study something that I enjoy and know I will continue to enjoy for my entire life rather than focus on the salary that my degree can bring me.
4) You’re Not Limited By a Degree
Contrary to popular opinion, you can find jobs outside of the major that you picked. If you get an English degree, you could end up working in politics, marketing, or a health related field; and you don’t necessarily have to be using a lot of your English skills. Ultimately, getting a degree shows proficiency in a specific field but also learning in general. A degree shows that you’ve put in about 4 years of work and that you are (hopefully) a well-rounded person, which is why colleges have general education requirements! Is it harder to get a job outside of your field? Yes, but it’s very far from impossible, too.
So don’t hyperventilate. Choosing a major does not make or break your life. Even if twenty years from now you look back and decide you made a poor choice in your major, you can still live a fulfilling life. Don’t make picking a major the single most defining moment of your life.