January 11, 2016

Choosing a Major

When you are a high school student, you take the required courses in order to graduate.  You have to choose some sequences and if your school offers electives, maybe you have time and space to squeeze in a few.  But for the most part, you do not have the opportunity to explore a career direction.  So what will you enter on your college applications when you are asked to list first and second choices for your major?

If you clearly want to major in English or neuroscience, that’s great! Although many students switch majors in college, that gives you a comfortable answer and also helps you to choose a college that actually offers the courses you hope to take!  Not every school has every major.

There is always the option to apply “Undecided.”  Many students do that. However, some colleges have supplementary essays that essentially require you to make a choice because the question is based on your interest in a particular school or field.  In that case, you need to think ahead even as early as freshman year.  What interests you? What courses, internships, volunteer work, jobs, or reading will help you to decide?

The College Board is very helpful in these areas.  Read their post on The College Major: What It Is and How to Choose One, and think about investing in the College Board Book of Majors 2015.

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