Starting college, and essentially a brand new life, can be a challenge for just about any student. Not too long ago, you were asking to go to the bathroom or even sharpen your pencil, and now it’s up to you to decide the course of your life. This can seem very overwhelming and even somewhat horrifying for some students as this is a big transition. The first step in deciding the course of an individual’s college life is to choose a major. For some, this is easy, but for others, this is not an easy task in the slightest. If you are one of those students who do not see choosing a major as an easy task, there are many courses of action that you can take in order to choose a major.
Research Your Major
One of the best things you can do before choosing a college major is research. Certainly you aren’t going to randomly select a college to attend without looking into it, so why would choosing a major be any different? If you are unsure of what you would like to do in life, there are numerous online tests that gauge one’s perception, skills and personality to give you an idea of what occupational field fits your interests and aptitudes. These tests can help to give you a better idea of what some career options or fields of study may be. That being said, research is only the first step that must be taken when choosing a college major. There are many other ways for students who are undecided to find assistance in advancing in their academic careers.
Start Out Undeclared
Even after research, you may still have very little idea what you would like to do in life, and that is perfectly fine. There are many ways to go about finding one’s “calling” at the beginning of your college education. You might know what school you want to go to but not the major you want to study. In that case, it’s good to know that many colleges offer an undecided or undeclared major and counsel students on discovering the right major for them. If you go to school with an undecided or undeclared major, you will take core educational classes that allow you to explore various subjects and see which ones spark your interest. You can usually take up to the end of your sophomore year to declare a major. By that time, you will have completed many of the core courses that everyone has to take and can dig into your preferred field of study. Most colleges will help you make your decision on a major when the time comes.
Declaring an Independent Major
Some colleges also offer you the chance to declare an independent major. What is an independent major? It’s a course of study in which you declare your own unique major on advice from your school. This is a way for students who can’t decide on a major or don’t believe they fall under the category of any specific majors offered can still get a relevant and valuable degree. This option is a good one if you love a particular school but they don’t offer exactly the major you like.
Use Campus Resources
The way a college handles students without majors varies. Many colleges offer a lot of help to their undecided students, while other colleges only offer very minimal help. Some undecided students may want help or just want to go about things in their own way. Liberal arts colleges and small colleges often offer more guidance and more options to their undecided students, whereas larger schools and state schools may be less flexible. It is important to find out how prospective colleges treat those who are undecided. You need to ask your top schools the question if you are unsure of your major.
College in itself can be a scary, but it’s also exciting! The same could be said for attempting to decide on a major. For students that are struggling to find a major, it is important to know that there are various ways in which you can help yourself – extra research, seeking help from others, going to college undeclared, finding a school with an independent major – any of these tactics can be helpful.
Choose a Major You Love
Finally, the best advice is to find something that you love. Passion for your major and future career is important. When doing something you love, you will be more confident and productive. With that in mind, if you are a student who is unsure of what you want to do in college, there is help and information out there. And remember that your major does not determine the rest of your life. It is just your entry ticket. Changing careers is now common, so stay positive!