College Advice Blog

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Mar 30, 2011

How to Decide on a College Major

Deciding on a major in college is one of the ‘big’ decisions in life.  This decision usually impacts college completion and career success.  With the plethora of options available and different colleges offering variations of majors, how is a student supposed to know what to major in?

Below are useful tips to help guide you to find your right college major and it’s based on the success of a methodology that has helped over 55,000 students (see www.graduatefactory.com).

1. Find out your interests, skills and preferences.  This is simple to understand but hard to capture.  Instead of asking yourself what to major in at college, start finding out more on what interests you.  Ask yourself questions such as:
-  What subjects did I enjoy in high school?
-  Am I interested in learning about society or the business world? Or both?
-  Do I prefer the physical sciences or the biological world?
-  Am I good at making things and do I enjoy the creative arts such as design?
-  Am I curious about individual human behavior and do I enjoy working with people?
-  Do I want to understand more about technology or enjoy using high-tech equipments?

2. Start prioritizing your interests, skills and preferences.  To better help you pinpoint down your major, start prioritizing the list of interests that you have from 1 to 10.  This is an important step as it allows you to accurately see for yourself more on what interests you and what you would prefer doing in comparison with the different interests.  Remember that we haven’t discussed anything about researching majors...well not just yet.

3. Use your guidance counselor as a match-maker.  With your list of interests from 1 to 10, ask your guidance counselor what majors would have these priorities as part of its description?  With their experience across understanding a lot of the college majors, they should be able to list out a dozen or so majors for you.

 4. Research and dig deep.  With the shortened list of college majors, start researching on the internet, the school library and talking to real people about the major.  An easier way to find out more about the major is going onto YouTube Education and searching for videos on the major.

5. Lastly, use the tools out there.  If nothing else, use some of the tools that are on the internet.  Some do charge for their service but many are free. One helpful free tool is No Major Drama  which ranks 300+ college majors according to your preferences, skills and interests.  

And with 50% of college students changing their major at least once while in college, understand that you will always be able to change your major if the first attempt doesn’t work out.

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About the Author: 
Deloshan Nawarajan is the co-founder of No Major Drama, which is an Internet-based tool for creating personalized rankings of majors available for Bachelor (under-graduate) degrees in the US and Canada. No Major Drama is completely free – for individual users and schools. Schools can sign up and easily create customized versions of the software for their students.
 

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