Is your college search stalled because you’re struggling with choosing a major? Do you have a clear understanding of what a major is? Generally, your major courses — a concentrated grouping of courses in one subject area or discipline — make up about one-third of the classes you take to earn your degree.
Although it may seem otherwise, most high school students are unsure about this decision. And, even those who think they know often change their minds. In fact, 50-70% of college students switch majors at least once!
The good news? Not knowing exactly what you want to study doesn’t mean you have to put your college search on hold. Here are three reasons you may be struggling, along with tips for what to do in each case.
It’s perfectly okay not to know what you want to study when you apply to college. Deciding what you want to major in is a decision that doesn’t have to be rushed. You can allow yourself time to explore by choosing a school that allows you to enter as “undeclared” or “undecided.” You’ll take a variety of courses while you’re being exposed to different disciplines — and, ultimately, find what excites you.
You may want to design websites and run your own news site, but there’s no major that looks like it would lead to that kind of career. Because we recognize that every student is unique, many colleges, like Meredith, allow motivated students to work with faculty members to design their own majors. So, for example, you may be able to take some web design courses and combine them with journalism courses and business courses and have a major that’s all your own creation. Meredith students have recently designed their own courses of study in musical theatre, Chinese studies, art history, arts management, and media writing.
There are many resources at colleges and universities to help you figure out the best major for your interests. Career Center professionals have lots of information about their graduates’ majors and the careers they entered. They’ll even put you in contact with grads who can talk with you about how their majors — and other college experiences like internships, undergraduate research, and service — helped them get where they are. When you’re planning your college visits, don’t leave the Career Center off of your tour or you may be missing out on answers to some of the most important questions.
Remember that choosing a major is only one factor in deciding on the best college for you. Equally important is choosing a place where you’ll be happy for the next four years of your life and set yourself up for success after college.