Picking a college major can seem like a daunting task. Yes, there's a lot of weight behind this choice, but in reality, it's more exciting than scary. Here you have a million opportunities in front of you, with each option opening up a slightly different path to the future. A major in journalism could turn you into the next host of The Today Show. A major is engineering could lead you to create a more energy-efficient airplane. A major in film could start you on a path that ends on stage, accepting your first Oscar in 2030. The options are endless.
Of course, picking a major is an important decision, and there are some things you should consider as you weigh your options. Read on to see what you should be considering as you choose your major.
1. Don't rush.
As I said, this is an important decision, there's no reason to rush it. Check when your school requires students to declare a major. Some will allow you to wait even up to the end of your sophomore year. Of course, you want to make sure you have time to finish all the requirements, but the point is, there's no reason to rush into a major. You have some time to make sure you're making the right decision.
2. Explore your options.
Use your first few semesters to take classes in some of the fields you're interested in. Think you may want to major in math? Take an introductory math course — you may realize it isn't for you, or it may instantly click, either way you're one class down in finishing your math requirement! It's good to take a class in the subject before you declare your major so you have a bit of an idea of what to expect.
If you're able to, try taking a class in something you have an interest in but you never really considered as a major. You may love it and surprise yourself. Or, you may realize it isn't for you and then you don't have to worry about the "what if?" of it all.
3. Talk to other students.
Talk to students who are currently in the majors you're considering. They will help you understand what to expect and they'll most likely have some advice for you. Every student has been in your situation, so don't try to go through this on your own. The more conversations you have, the more of an informed decision you can make.
4. Talk to teachers.
You should also talk to teachers, especially your academic adviser. Your adviser is there for the purpose in helping you with situations like these. They can offer you advice or give you other people to talk to. You should also try talking to teachers who teach the subject you're considering. Again, they can shed some light on what the major is like and what to expect.
5. Look at the requirements.
When considering a major, look at the requirements you will need to fulfill in order to graduate. Some majors may have so many you won't be able to graduate on time. Others may make you go abroad when you weren't planning on it. Make sure you are OK with everything the major will ask of you before you choose it.
6. Think about your future.
In the end, a major should be a stepping stone to help you reach your future goals. Of course, it doesn't have to be and there are plenty of people who graduate with a degree in writing and never touch pen to paper again. That being said, if you do have a specific career in mind, it will help if your major prepares you for that in some way, so definitely think about what you want to do after graduation when making this decision.
7. Know that things are never set in stone.
Of course, even when you do declare your major, that doesn't mean you must now forever live with your decision forever. If, after one or two classes, you decide it's not for you, that's totally OK! Talk to your adviser and change it. This decision doesn't have to be permanent.
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