10 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Major

It’s that time in your life – the both exciting and anxiety ridden crossroads as which you have to decide what you want the rest of your life to look like. How does one make such a big decision? You may not even know what you want to do, or what you like, or even what you’re really good at! How are you supposed to make such a big decision now, when you’re still trying to decide what drives you and forming your opinions on what your passions are? I mean sure, you LOVE Grey’s Anatomy – but are you really up for the numerous hard years of medical school? Or you adore Harvey Spector’s sharp-tongued wit and legal acumen on Suits (don’t we all), but are you cut out for law school? Don’t worry – you are not alone in the desire to find answers to these burning questions. Here are 10 things you should consider before choosing that major to help guide you along to the right path. Just remember, nothing is set in stone! If you end up choosing one that may be wrong for you, it’s never too late to switch.

1) Identify your passions
You may already know what your passions are, or you may be struggling to find them. You may even find out that you don’t really have any guiding passions, and that’s ok! If you’re having trouble settling on a major, try out a bunch of new things and see if anything clicks. For example, if you’re potentially considering a computer science major, try a free programming lesson online! Or if you want to pursue an artistic path, try engaging in different types of art projects and see how you feel. Watch YouTube videos, try things out for yourself, and try to measure your feelings about different potential courses of study, based on your findings.

2) Listen to your heart
Somewhere, deep down, you have a shortlist of career paths you’ve mulled over, perhaps in your day dreams. Maybe it’s dreams of being an entrepreneur and having your own business, or maybe it’s a life surrounded by fuzzy friends as a veterinarian. You may be the listener of your friends group, the one everyone goes to for advice, which may make you suitable to be a great psychologist! Perhaps you doodle non-stop and dream of being a designer, but always push that desire away as a “hobby”. Whatever it is, the answer lies within you! So, listen to your heart and avoid letting other guide that decision for you.

3) Look up potential career paths for each major
So you’re leaning in a certain direction, you love the courses and the professors, and you think you could really get by great with the subject matter, but you’re not sure what kind of jobs await you at the other side. Look it up! Your university may have a career center page, of you could simply google “jobs for ____ majors” and see if those careers appeal to you!

4) Talk to people
Despite all the research you’ve done up to this point, nothing beats good old conversation. Talk to your parents, cousins, aunts, older friends who’ve finished college and are employed, and ask them how they made their decisions, what they studied, and how they feel about the major they selected. Find people who currently work in the field you hope to enter, and ask them about their experience. This will help you formulate firsthand accounts about the future that awaits you.

5) Earning potential
Your future salary bracket may not matter to you if you already have a passion you wish to pursue, and that’s perfectly fine. However, if saving up money after college is especially important to you, look up future earning potential for each major you’re considering, and make financial gain one of the items to consider when making your decision. Just remember – your future income is in no way fixed to these potential salary brackets!

6) Consider a major in your strongest subjects
Have you excelled in a subject over others? Does this indicate an interest in the subject matter? If you can see yourself taking your education a step further in this subject, consider it as a potential major.

7) Don’t rush
If you’re feeling pressured into deciding, and feel like you’re not convinced of the decision you’re about to make, take a step back and weigh the pros and cons. Don’t jump into a decision without doing the necessary research.

8) Do not doubt yourself or your abilities
If you’re considering a major that requires a lot of long hours, memorization or many years of study, don’t be intimidated and don’t doubt your ability to do it. Everything will begin with a 101 course, and over time you will continue to surpass your own expectations and make yourself very proud in the process. Everyone must start somewhere!

9) Look at majors that are compatible with your personality type
If you’re empathetic, perhaps look at majors that involve being a good “people-person”. Are you very logical? You may be suited to mathematics, programming or science. Do you have a deep-seated love of language and teaching? Consider English language or foreign language studies. By no means does your personality limit your options, but it may ease your decision-making process to find suitable majors based on the kind of person you are. If you feel you thrive when you work with your hands, consider fields that allow you to do just that, like design, engineering, culinary arts, etc.

10) Keep in mind that the major you choose, does not necessarily dictate your career
So you made a decision, congratulations! Just remember, according to the federal reserve of New York, most graduates do not end up in fields directly related to their majors! You may choose to go in a completely different direction after graduation, and that’s completely okay! You will be armed with a new set of skills and knowledge applicable in many diverse and exciting situations, so go forth and start your journey!

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