How to Choose a Major: Student Insight

Abbie Cochrane / Southern Utah University »

All throughout the years leading up to college, most kids try to be just like everyone else. They go along with fashion trends and try to force themselves into this mold and be a carbon copy of their peers. However, when you get to college, that all goes out the window. Everyone is so caught up in trying to figure out ways to set themselves apart and discover who they really are that they end up spending thousands of dollars taking classes that don’t really interest them. 

Life isn’t about going along with what other people are saying and doing; life is about authenticity. It’s about figuring out what makes your soul shine and doing everything you can to be the most authentic version of yourself. And it all starts in college. 

It took some thought and soul searching to figure out what I wanted to study at Southern Utah University, but once I focused on what I really wanted to learn more about in life, I decided on Musical Theatre. The beautiful thing about most degrees is that a lot of employers in the real world don’t really care what you major in, they’re just happy you went to college and have a degree. Even so, if you decide that your chosen major isn’t for you anymore, there’s always a back door, and you can always change your major. And it’s okay if you don’t know yet—being undeclared is a great opportunity to try out lots of different classes to see what you like. 

Five Steps to Help You Choose Your Major

For the most part, if you want your future career to follow your studies in college, having a degree in something you love is key. Picking a degree can be hard, so to make it easier, here are five steps to help you pick your study path. 

  1. List out the things you love to do. You don’t have to be amazing at them, that’s why you go to college to learn. Think about why you like to do these things and if there’s a real-world application to them–can you potentially make a career out of this? 
  2. Look at your college application list. Do any of your dream schools have a solid program in any of the things you listed? Then weigh it against what kind of degree you’re looking to earn; bachelor’s, master’s, Ph.D., etc. Does that school offer your desired major in the degree(s) you’re looking to get? Be sure to also look at tuition and other factors that you need to consider when choosing a college. 
  3. Hone in. Once you’ve ruled out majors and colleges that don’t fit the bill, narrow it down further. What kind of career do you see yourself having? 
  4. Try new things. When you register for your classes, try to fit an elective that interests you into your schedule if you can. Trying new things is a great way to discover new interests that can reshape your education pathway. 
  5. Stay open. Remember that it’s okay if you just take some general classes before settling on a choice, and there’s always a back door. People switch their majors all the time! You could even minor in something else you love, or do a double major! If you’re seeking a higher degree once you’ve gotten your undergraduate plan figured out, start thinking about your master’s or doctorate degree pathway. 

If you’re already in college and having trouble deciding what to major in, talk to your academic advisor, or visit your campus career center! They are trained to help you start on the path to your future! Remember that it’s okay if you don’t have it figured out right now. Ask yourself how you can use your gifts and talents in the workforce. Of course it’s a good thing to keep in mind that you’ll want to start on a pathway that can help you make money, but most importantly, you want to do something that you like. Follow your passions when you choose your major, and the right doors will open up.