Student Perspective: Making the Major Decision

During the college application process, incoming freshmen often find themselves asking, “What do I want to major in?” “What jobs are available in that major?” “Would my parents, teachers, etc. approve of my major” These questions are all great ones to be asked, but the main focus should be “What do I want, or am interested in majoring in?”

Many college students get on-campus and end up changing their major for a number of reasons whether it is loss of interest, finding that they lack the appropriate skills needed, or they just cannot seem to “get it right.” Students can easily change their major three or more times before they realize there are resources to help them through this process of identifying their so called, perfect fit.

One student, James…that would be me…changed his major a total of 4 times. Now I’m not saying that this is what YOU should do. I thought I was strong in the sciences because I excelled in them in high school, but when I arrived to a research university and actually had a chemist teaching me instead of a chemistry teacher, I was in for a rude awakening. I failed my first semester of Chemistry, and struggled still in my second semester. It was then that I realized the sciences were not enough of an interest to weather the information and potential for failure.

After coming to Career Development Services, I realized that my natural strengths could be complimented by a major/career. I took interest inventories and personality assessments that indicated that I should choose a major that utilized my impeccable social skills. So, I chose public relations as a major because so many careers within the major interested me, and I knew this long-term direction would increase my class attendance, homework completion, and confidence.

So as a “wise” sophomore, I suggest that students thinking of choosing a major should consider the following:

  1. Take the university core requirements first. This allows you to see where you interests and strengths are which would help in your choosing of a major.
  2. Visit Career Development Services. Take the online interest and aptitude assessments.
  3. Schedule an appointment with a career counselor to discuss the results of your assessments. They can help with any questions you might have about a major choice.
  4. Be proactive in self exploration and career research and then, let the major choose you instead of you choosing it. This way if you excel in Math and Science, a major that will help you exhibit those skills would be best for you. The same goes for English and writing skills, maybe something such as Journalism would be appropriate.
Just remember that you are in control of your own life, and instead of listening to what everyone else believes you should major in listen to your own judgment and do what is best for you.

By James Miller '13

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