5 Easy Ways to Explore a College Major

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The conventional wisdom is that you should take a class if you are interested in exploring a subject area for a college major.  However, that can be a long and expensive process depending on how many areas you want to explore.  Here are some easier ways to start the process:

  1. Go to a website for a college you might consider attending. Print out their list of undergraduate majors.  Take just 20 minutes with a pen and this list.  Cross off anything you do not want to study, put question marks by the ones you want to know more about and circle any real possibilities.  Again, do not spend lots of time thinking about this.  Just go with your gut instinct.  Then think about any patterns for the ones you crossed off or circled.  How will you find out more about the ones with the question marks by them?  Are you really as undecided as you thought?  Knowing what you don’t want and knowing what you don’t know are as important as knowing what is of interest to you so keep this list around!
  1. Wander around a bookstore, especially a college bookstore if you have one nearby you. What books are you drawn to and why?  Are there books you would never open?  Why?  What’s the difference between Sociology and Anthropology anyway? Look through a few books, especially the intro course books, to help you figure this out.  Feel free to talk to someone at the bookstore too.  (Please note that you could also use a library but sometimes there are just too many books at the library and it is easier to feel overwhelmed there.)
  1. Talk to people about what they majored in and why. Talk to your parents, their friends, your teachers, older students, your doctor, and random people that you meet.  If you are currently on a college campus, ask some professors about their area of interest and how they came to study that.  People LOVE to talk about themselves.  They will give you all sorts of serious and inane answers once you start asking about this subject.  Ask them if and how their college major impacted their career.  Are they still doing something related to their college major?  Chances are good that they are not because college majors and careers are often vastly different.
  1. Look through LinkedIn profiles or other bios online. Many people list their college majors and their current careers.  Again, you may or may not see much of a correlation. This is important because for most people, their college major did not necessarily make the biggest impact on their career.  Their first few jobs are often what set them on their career path.
  1. Talk to us at My College Planning Team about a possible assessment and further conversation about any of this! A simple online assessment of your interests and your aptitudes, along with some professional guidance, will help you explore much more efficiently.  We are happy to help you think about the possibilities and the best fit for you!

Finally, please remember to choose a major that is of interest to you and somewhat challenging but not overly challenging.  You will likely spend two years or more in your major classes so it is important that you enjoy it and do well in these classes.  In the end, your college major is just a few years of your long life so please do not make this into an anxiety-inducing task.  It should be a fun process as you think about the possibilities and learn more about yourself.

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