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Consider the Big Picture When Selecting a Major

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Summary: Are you having a hard time picking a major in college? Learn how to match your interests with a major in this article.


Question: I’m so lost! Going into my first year of community college, I knew exactly what I wanted to major in. One year later, I’ve probably changed my mind 130 times. Where should I start when choosing my life’s pursuit? I know I want to do something that’s fun, fast-paced and includes travel. How do I match my interests with a major?

Answer: You’re experiencing a normal, healthy period of exploration and development. It’s a shame that socialization and finances often conspire to put so much pressure on beginning college students.

Remove some of the burden by recognizing that, as important as early career decisions can be, they don’t necessarily translate into lifelong pursuits. A career path with multiple careers encompassing a variety of jobs over a lifetime is becoming the norm. The goal is to explore and experiment enough so that you can begin to focus and make choices that build a strong foundation that allows for some flexibility.

Meet with a college career counselor to process your thoughts and feelings and use the library of resources available to research occupations. Assessments like the Campbell Interest Inventory and SIGI computerized assessment may help you discover possible matches between your interests and majors/careers. Identifying desirable work environments (e.g., corporate, nonprofit, educational, structured, diverse, fast-paced) will help to further clarify direction.

Study the college catalog and sample different majors. Talk with faculty and students representing a variety of subjects before you lock yourself into a course of study. Gaining exposure to a variety of careers through informational interviews, internships, study projects, travel and work experience is part of the decision-making process.

See Deciding on a Major, Alternatives to College and Other Education Questions Answered for more information.

Consider the Big Picture When Selecting a Major by
Authored by: Andrew Ostler

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