How Your Potential Major Can Influence Your College Search

Many factors go into finding the right college, from academic rigor to scholarships offered to sports. But where does your college major fit in?

Many factors go into finding the right college, and they vary from person to person. Some students look for the overall academic rigor, the amount of scholarship money offered, or even sports available. But what about college major?

Though plenty of students find their college first and decide on their major later, using your major as your guide in finding the right college for you can be extremely powerful.

Your college major can influence your college search in a variety of ways. For instance, if you start your search already knowing exactly what you want to major in, then you will look at colleges that only offer that specific major. Depending on how common or uncommon your major is, it can narrow your choices significantly—sometimes by thousands of schools.

But what if you’re interested in a pretty popular major? When I conducted my college search, I knew I wanted to major in English. I Googled “colleges with best English programs” or “top 10 colleges with best English department.” However, if you are planning to major in such a common major as English—and practically every university has an English program—then you need to dig a little deeper and get specific in your college search.

This usually starts with researching the quality of the major and academic program at the schools you’re considering, including what kind of reputation (and accreditation) it has, what kind of minors and concentrations are available, how easily its graduates find jobs in their field, and what those jobs are. You can also see if the colleges gets consistently ranked for your major program (even though you should take college rankings with a grain of salt!). Finally, you can look at the length of the program (will you have opportunities to take a second major or study abroad?) and the opportunities it can provide, like internships, research with faculty, and maybe even related extracurriculars on campus.

For me, whether or not a university had a publishing degree or program was important, and I was able to greatly narrow my list to my top three colleges by searching for schools that had publishing programs.

Even if you are undecided, majors will still influence your college search. When searching for colleges as an undecided student, you should make sure your schools have a variety of majors for you to choose from when the time is right. Also, in case you ever need to change your major, you will have a variety to choose from. There are even many colleges that allow students to design their own majors or independent study. If you are the type of person who has many interests, then these are schools you should definitely be looking into.

Related: How to Choose Your Major (or Not) 

Finding a college is already hard enough with all the other factors you need to take into consideration, so why not make it easier? Using your potential major as a tool in your college search will definitely help narrow your list. While your major may not seem like a big influence on your college choice, you might discover it’s one of the most important factors.

How is your major impacting your college search—or is it not impacting it at all? Let us know in the comments, or share your story on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now


About Leah Pierre

I love to read and write! (I also have an unhealthy obsession with TV shows . . . ) When I'm not reading, writing, or watching TV, I'm spending time with my friends and family.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress


High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress showed me that Western New England University was a great match for me both with curriculum and location. CollegeXpress is an excellent resource both future and current college students.



Student, University of the People

I registered with CollegeXpress and filled all my necessary and relevant information as well as the course I wished to study. A few days later, an email was sent to me with a list of schools offering the course; amongst them was the University of the People, the school I got admitted to.

Sierra Carranza

Sierra Carranza

High School Class of 2022

I had absolutely no idea where I wanted to go to school; I was considering colleges in almost every state. CollegeXpress was an amazing resource and helped me compare all of my top schools. Without the help of CollegeXpress, I probably wouldn't have made such an informed and confident decision.



High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has provided me with tips that were for college students, but as a high school junior, they were still very useful. Not only that, it also gave me an idea of what to expect when it comes to going to college or already being in college. I want to say thank you to CollegeXpress, and I hope you continue the wonderful tips until I hopefully get into college and throughout my college journey.

Mataya Mann

Mataya Mann

High School Class of 2022

To say that CollegeXpress is a helpful tool would be an understatement as it is much more than that. Before finding CollegeXpress, all I knew was that I wanted to go to college, it was going to be insanely expensive, and I felt lost. CollegeXpress has given me access to resources such as helpful tips for applications and scholarship [opportunities], and helped guide me in a direction where I feel confident moving forward and pursuing a career. CollegeXpress has helped instill a spark in me that makes me want to continue and supports me in doing so.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Columbia University

New York, NY

Marymount University

Arlington, VA

Pace University

New York, NY

High Point University

High Point, NC