I changed my major once during my time at my community college. I had gone in with one purpose and came out with a somewhat different one. To be honest, when I started I simply chose to do an “Administrative Secretary” certificate. It wasn’t until I started full-time that I declared child development as my major. Today, however, I am an English major. I know many students with a similar story. While in some ways I am actually aimed at the same focus, my major changed for a reason. I do love children, don’t get me wrong, but I never had a passion to teach preschool. I wanted to teach, that I was and am certain of. It took some time to really know what I wanted to do. Now, as a transfer student at a 4 year university I am in the right major and ready to dive in to the subject.
But how do you get to the “right” major? Here are some tips on choosing a major that is right for you:
1. Don’t take an intro class to “try out” a major. I know this sounds counter-productive but intro classes are usually not enough to really make a decision on whether or not a particular field is right for you. Along with this, don’t wait until all your GE’s are done to choose a major. Actually, at 2 year colleges it is becoming more common to have to declare a major within the first two semesters so this might not even be a major. However, you CAN change your major if you change your mind.
2. Don’t choose a major because your friends or family tell you to. I know that we often seek advice from our peers and family members, but they may be more inclined to steer you toward their own majors or career paths. Not that there is anything wrong with what they are doing, but it might not be right for you!
3. Take a personality-for-major quiz like the one here: Click Here. Many times it’s good to consider your personality. Actually I would venture to say it is most effective to make considerations based on your personality since you would do your best work if your personality aligned with the major! Another excellent analysis is the RIASEC scale, which you can find here: Click Here.
4. Use your skills! Regardless if you have taken 2 classes, 20 classes or none you have a skill-set already! Consider what skills you have and find out what majors rely on those skills. As a mother I chose to go in to child development and it was a great match. Maybe you worked in an office setting at some point, or a preschool, or a marketing job. Use the skills you have already obtained to narrow down your major possibilities.
5. Research! Are you interested in a major that you KNOW for sure it will have the most job opportunities and the best pay? Not sure what certain majors entail or what they lead to? Research it! You can research on the web, at your college, at a library, or a book store! And you want to look for things like job possibilities, popularity of major, etc.
6. Speak to a counselor or academic adviser. While counselors aren’t walking encyclopedias of information, I bet you that they know a thing or two about popular majors. It is a good idea to make an appointment with a counselor to discuss major options including course requirements and availability.
If you try all of these things, and more than once, just be patient with yourself — finding a major is an on-going process as is the entire college experience. It may take a semester or two to really figure it all out but eventually you will!