Many college applications require you to select a major or state that you are “undeclared”. But what is the best way to choose a major? Here are 5 ideas to guide you.
- Start exploring. It’s never too early or too late to start exploring your interests and connecting them to majors or careers.
- Learn about yourself. Take advantage of career surveys, interest inventories or other questionnaires or resources available to you. The more you understand yourself, the better prepared you are for next steps.
- Research. Tools available to you online or at your school can help you explore what majors are needed for careers you are interested in. Taking classes in subjects required for a major or profession helps you learn more too.
- Try it on. Arrange to do a job shadow or to interview someone in careers you are interested in.
- Make a short list. Once you have done your research and talked to people in professions, narrow your list of majors to pursue. Often there are many majors you can select from to get to a chosen career or area of interest.
Ode to the Undeclared Major
According to the US Dept. of Education, nearly 1/3 of college students change their major at least once during their college career. (https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2018/2018434.pdf) Many universities or colleges recognize you may not be ready to declare a major when you start as a freshman. Often you do not have to declare a major until sometime in your sophomore year. There are a few universities that don’t offer “undeclared” as an option. You will know which colleges require majors from their websites and applications.
Take the Find My Spark survey in GuidedPath. Use it to learn more about your personality and preferences. Use the list of majors or careers to explore professions in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.