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How to Determine Which Major to Study

There’s no surprise that choosing a major to pursue at university is difficult. While some students know what they want to do since childhood, others aren’t sure.

Whether you’re already in college or you’ve just started applying, here are some tips to finding the major that’s right for you.

Steps to Take When Choosing a Major

What do You Like to do?

The first thing to consider when choosing a major is what you like to do. By the time you graduate high school, you should have some ideas to figure out what you might or might not be interested in pursuing.

List 10 things you love. Listing what you love doing, both inside or outside the classroom, is a great way to see possible paths you can take. If you enjoy art and drawing but are also interested in technology, consider majoring in graphic design. If you’re into business and travelling, investigate majoring in international business.

Make a list of strengths and weaknesses. Figuring out your strengths and weaknesses can help you assess what kind of major to go into. For example, suppose public speaking isn’t really your thing. In that case, you might want to avoid majors that could lead to careers like being a news anchor or spokesperson. You can also take your weaknesses and build on them in college. If public speaking is something you want to improve, go ahead and take a speech class. You might love it!

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What Are Your Career Goals?

After digging into what you’re interested in, it’s time to think about your goals and future career and how easy or hard it might be to find employment.

If you have a specific career goal in mind, you might need to pick your major or program in advance, sometimes as early as when you’re applying to college.

It’s also good to know what major you’ll need for the field that interests you.

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Talk to the Professionals

The best source of college advice is your school counsellor. They’ve helped many students who are making the same decisions you are. Your school counsellor can tell you more about college majors and program offerings.

You can also reach out to professionals working in the field you’re interested in. They can talk to you about how they got from college to where they are now. Whether they’re your parents, guardians, family members, or people you interact with professionally, set up a time to interview them. Be prepared with a set of questions to ask.

Do Internships and Volunteer Work

Internships and volunteer work are the best ways to get real hands-on experience in fields a major can lead to. You’ll get a great understanding of what day-to-day life in the profession is like. If you can, talk to people in different departments to see if their work interests you.

Attend Online Events at Various Universities

You can learn a lot from visiting universities (if possible) or attending events on campus. Universities have virtual open houses or accepted student days where department representatives answer questions and offer you their knowledge.

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There are also students you can talk to about their major and class experiences in the major.

Have Backups

Try to come up with one or two backup majors. This way, you’ve got options if you decide to switch your major.

What If You Can’t Decide on a Major?

It’s okay to enter university as an undecided major. You don’t have to know what you want to major in (or even what you want to do with the rest of your life). Some universities allow you to take classes you think you might enjoy or even classes you’ve never been exposed to before.

Is It Possible to Change Your Major?

You can absolutely change your major. Studies find that most students change majors at least once, and many switch several times. No matter what year you’re in, sometimes the major you declare doesn’t end up being the right one.

If you decide to change your major, make sure the credits you need align with your expected graduation date.

It’s a big decision, but you know yourself and your interests better than anyone. Remember, when choosing a major, the most important thing is to make sure you’re happy and clear about your priorities for your life and career after college.

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