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How to Choose Your Perfect College Major

Updated on October 30, 2012

How to Choose Your Perfect College Major


I remember one of the first roommates I had at college. His name was Ralph and he had no idea why he was attending college. It seems he was one of those people whose parents had insisted he at least give college a try.

He was gone before the first semester was completed. There were others who stayed the full four years and upon graduation still had no idea what they were going to do after college.

I was different than most because I already knew what my major was going to be. I gravitated toward others of like mind who also knew what their major was and had a clear goal in mind. Some of these folks, like me, already knew what they would study before leaving for college.

Others had decided within a few weeks what their major would be. I often wondered how people made the decision of what to study in college. How does a person know how to choose the right college major?


Prepare for a Career Path Logically

Some of my friends in college had simply chosen a specific career path because they knew someone who was already working in a particular career field.

I remember one of my close friends in school whose father was a successful accountant. At that time, Tim's dad had a successful accounting practice and his father had previously worked for one the "Big 8" accounting firms, as they were then known.

Tim was pursuing a major in business administration with a minor in accounting. He didn't particularly have a passion for accounting or business, but he had worked with his father in the business and was already familiar with this field. He was comfortable with his decision. That was the rationale he used to choose his major in college.



Choosing a Career by Following Your Passion

Some of my college friends already knew what they wanted to do before they left home. These are the people with whom I had the most in common. I had known for many years that I wanted to work in advertising and marketing.

When I chose a college, I looked at the courses they offered in this career field. If a college had a tiny advertising/marketing program - or none at all - I didn't even consider that school. I had a passion for advertising, I loved everything about it and I knew it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Unlike my accounting friend, Tim, I really didn't have any real experience working in advertising, I just knew I loved advertising and wanted to be a part of it.


How to Find the Perfect College Major for You

When it comes to choosing the perfect college major, you have to decide what is right for you. My father drove a fuel truck for a major oil company and I knew I didn't want to do that.

My friend Tim already knew a lot about accounting so he chose a business/accounting major. Here are some tips to help you decide which college major may be best for you.

Before you read further,take a look at the video to the right...


Talk to an Advisor or Mentor

The first thing you may want to do is to get the right information. College or career advisors typically know a great deal about careers and colleges. The best advisors know how to help you determine what your strengths are and how those strengths could help you in a particular career.

Mentors, or others you know who have been in a particular field will also know what training and schooling will be necessary to get you on the right path.

You may also talk to someone who can help you determine where your interests and strengths lie, then talk with an advisor, counselor or mentor.

The book, "What Color is Your Parachute" is a good place to start if you need to find your interests and strengths and help you decide on which college major may be best for you.


College is Very Different From High School

I discovered this to be especially true when I went to college years ago. Some of the subjects I really liked in high school were totally different in college. In this new educational setting, I began to look at things in a whole new light.

I even took some classes that I would have never taken in high school. Keep an open mind when you start college and try some new things - you never know - it may lead to a whole new career path.


What are the Top 10 College Majors?

(According to the Princeton Review in 2012) While these may be the most popular majors, they may not represent the most in-demand jobs. The reason these particular majors may be so popular is they do not lock students into a single career path, rather, these majors help students develop skills that can be used in many different careers.

  1. Business Administration/Management
  2. Psychology
  3. Nursing
  4. Biological Sciences
  5. Education
  6. English/Literature
  7. Economics
  8. Communications Studies
  9. Political Science/Government
  10. Computer and Information Sciences

Get in Touch With Some Upperclassmen

These are the people who really know what's going on in a particular field of study because they're in it right now.

Ask them how they determined what their particular major would be and how they made that decision. Upperclassmen know the answers to these questions.


Check Details of Individual Courses

Do you want to know what is going to be required of you if you choose a particular major? Get a copy of the course syllabus.

This will tell you what assignments, books and other work will be required if taking this class.

Review the materials, get ahold of a book or two used in the course. Determine if the information found in these materials get you motivated or make you nod off when reading them.


The Bottom Line on Choosing the Perfect College Major

Get as much information as possible when making the decision to choose a major. Don't feel like there is a great deal of pressure to make a decision right away. When you get to college, most of the courses in your first few semesters are likely to be general education courses you're going to need anyway.

Don't stress out over trying to choose the perfect college major. Just talk to  a few people, do some research and keep an open mind.
Don't stress out over trying to choose the perfect college major. Just talk to a few people, do some research and keep an open mind. | Source

Choosing a college major does not necessarily determine your path in life. You are in control. you get to decide.

Look at what you like to do, find your interests and strengths. Imagine what you what your life to look life after college.

If making money is important to you, that will help determine your major.

If helping people is important to you, that will help determine your major.

Finally, even if you choose a major, graduate, start working and it just doesn't work out, you can always go back to school later if you need to change careers,

Lots of people are doing just that these days.


Good luck!


Do you think a student needs to decide on a major before going to college?

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    • Dbro profile image


      6 years ago from Texas, USA

      My son is a sophomore in college and trying to decide on a major. Your hub will be very helpful to him. Thanks for sharing your advice!

    • MKayo profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      I do love a satisfied customer - thanks billybuc!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent suggestions! I was curious whether you were going to mention passion, and you did, so I was more than satisfied with your hub!


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