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How to Go About Choosing Your College Major

Mar 11, 2008
Don't panic if you can't decide on a major before you begin your first year of college. It's not a big deal if you seem to be unable to choose your college major before you begin school.

Remember that a lot of students change their majors several times during the course of their college
education and in most cases it does not seem to affect their lives in any great way. They even seem to finish college around the same time as students who determined their major at the beginning and stuck to it throughout.

There are, however, some steps you can take to discover the ideal career path for you which will help you in choosing your college major. Think about it for a while before you rush into a decision. Your goal is not decisively finalizing a particular major; it is to narrow your interests to a few areas that can be explored more fully.

-Examine and assess your areas of interest. What excites you? What jobs or careers might hold appeal? Many college career centers have a range of tests that can help you decide some of these things.

-Examine your abilities. Determine what your strengths are, your weaknesses, and your skills. As a sort of roadmap, you can use your high school courses. Think of which subjects you were really good at, which extracurricular activities you preferred to participate in, and which things you learned from a part-time or summer job.

-Examine your work values. Do you want to do something that helps society? Are you ok with working under pressure? Do you prefer a group oriented job? Is stability a major issue? How important is status?

-Explore career options. Look at general lists of occupations, find specific occupations, and look for information and resources related to them. You can learn a lot about various occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook.

-Honestly evaluate your options. Look at what is realistically possible for you. You may be really interested in being a doctor, but unless you have the necessary science skills, it is an exercise in pointlessness. If you are thinking of a career path that is likely to need an advanced degree, make sure you have no future commitments to stop you from pursuing graduate study. It is important to consider the realities and face the obstacles to decide if you can get done what you intend to start.

-Narrow your choices down to a few and then focus on choosing your college major. By the time you have reached this last step, you probably have a much better idea of the majors you are definitely not interested in and have figured out a few that are of interest to you.

In your journey towards choosing your college major, use all the resources you can access:

-College course catalogs have a range of information from required courses to specialized majors.

-Professors and academic advisers have usually worked in the fields they teach and can guide you with careers and opportunities.

-Classmates and seniors at college who already pursuing their Major can be a great help.

-College alumni are people in the prime of their careers who can give you the input from the real job market.

-Family and friends can also be of great help regarding majors and career paths.

-The college career center also has a wealth of information and resources for choosing your college major as well as a career, an internship, job placement, and so on.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for six sigma professionals such as, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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