From conducting self-assessments to attending career workshops to sitting your family down for a career plan, here are some tips for choosing the right college major for you. And if this list doesn't lead you to the perfect major, it should help steer you toward exploring, undecided, or undeclared majors.
- Conduct a self-assessment of your core interests, values, skills, and personality type. Formal methods involve using things like personality and aptitude tests, available at most college career services offices. Informal techniques might include asking yourself the following questions: What am I good at? Which adjectives would I use to describe myself? What’s really important to me in a career? What kind of work environment would I feel most comfortable in?
- Read your college’s course catalogue. You'd be surprised how well you can get to know a major by reading up on required classes. Flip through your college's course catalogue to check out classes in the majors that intrigue you. Simply asking yourself, “Does this class sound interesting or not?” is a great first step.
- Ask questions! Talk to family, friends, and faculty about their careers. These are some of the people who know you best and may be able to make suggestions based on who you really are.
- Develop organizational and study skills. Learn effective reading, writing, and note-taking techniques—all portable skills you can apply to basically any major—and career—out there.
- Register for a variety of required core classes freshman year. Expand your horizons! Skip the fancy electives for now, because they’ll only delay graduation if you swap majors down the road. Instead, take a range of gen ed classes that can be applied to multiple majors.
- Attend résumé-writing and career-planning workshops and career fairs at your college. You should take advantage of your career services center. They'll have plenty of information on careers and deciding on a major. You might also glean some useful insights by talking to industry reps at a college career fair.
- Determine which of your skills are the most marketable. Are you great at chatting up new people? Creative with pictures or designs or words? Patient about teaching your friends new things? Everybody's got their something.
- Get a part-time or summer position or internship. You'll determine whether it's a good fit for you and develop transferable professional skills you can use at other jobs.
- Join campus organizations. You'll develop teamwork and leadership skills, and become an active member of the campus community (good for grad school, job apps, and scholarships).
Now you know how to explore majors. Want to explore colleges too while you're at it? Get started with our College Search tool.