Can’t Decide on a Major? 4 Tips for Picking the Right One for You

College is filled with choices, and one of the most important of these choices in the realm of academics is deciding once and for all which field you will decide to specialize in. Many students know from the very get go what their major will be, some have absolutely no idea, but the majority have a vague notion of their specialization until they begin taking introductory classes and realize they got it all wrong. If the deadline for your major is looming, or even if you are just beginning school and want to have plan for your major, here are a few guidelines.

1. Don’t place too much importance on others’ opinion. It’s your education.

When I was in college, I knew many students who, when asked why they were electing a certain major, responded, “Because my parents want me to.” Of course, your friends and family only want what is best for you. At the same time, however, it’s you who will be taking classes, not your parents nor your friends. Getting advice from those who know you well is definitely a good idea, but remember that the choice ultimately falls on your shoulders.

2. Balance practicality and passion.

Each of us has different interests and passions, and when you are first beginning college, you probably aren’t really focusing on your future career. On the other hand, some students are so enamored by the idea of becoming a doctor that they decide to major in biology even though they hate science. When deciding on your major, it’s also important to factor in both your level of interest in a certain subject as well as an understanding of your future career goals and how they may be met by studying a specific subject.

3. Take a variety of classes your first year. Don’t rule out anything before you’ve had a taste.

Your first year of college brings with it many new experiences, if you keep your mind open. Since most schools don’t require their students to select a major until their sophomore year or later, take advantage of the opportunity to explore different subjects. Even if you didn’t particularly enjoy English class in high school, take a shot at some literature courses. Even if you have no idea what geology even entails, sign up for a class and find out! You’ll never know where your true interests and talents lie until you’ve sampled what’s out there.

4. Be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses.

There are many things in this world that we would like to do, but we can’t always do all of them. Even if you like the idea of majoring in economics, if you are terrible at math, it will be constant uphill struggle selecting which isn’t your strong suit. When selecting a major, look at yourself honestly and pick something that you are truly good at.

As noted earlier, don’t take anyone’s advice—even mine—too seriously. Even if you aren’t happy with the major you eventually pick, remember that getting good grades is more important than your choice of major for future success.

This is a guest post by Kimberly Wilson from

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