Choosing a Major That’s Right for You

By Inland Empire Success | June 14, 2024

Choosing a major is an exciting and challenging part of going to college. Many students get to college without knowing what they want to study. Taking time now to think about your choice of major will help you get on the right path sooner.

Always remember, your first choice of major doesn’t mean you can’t change later. Lots of students do! About a third of undergraduates in the United States change majors before graduation.

Changing majors can come with a cost. A new major can force you to take more classes, which takes time and costs money. It can also delay graduation. To avoid that, try to find a major that best suits you.

Here are some ideas to help you get started.

Picking the Right Major is Important

Your choice of major is a big decision that can shape your future in many ways. It can help you grow personally and intellectually, allowing you to learn more about subjects you love and discover new interests.

Selecting a major is not just about getting a job. It’s about finding a path that makes you happy and fulfilled.

A good major also opens doors to career opportunities. The Inland Empire is home to many growing industries like healthcare, education, and technology. Picking a major related to these fields can lead to good job prospects in your local area.

Moreover, selecting a major that excites you will keep you motivated throughout college. When you enjoy what you’re studying, you are more likely to stay engaged and do well in your classes. This motivation can help you overcome challenges and make the most of your college experience.

Self-Assessment: Get to Know Yourself

Your major is a big personal choice. It helps to know yourself before committing to an academic path.

Start by thinking about your interests and passions. What activities do you enjoy? What subjects do you find exciting? Asking yourself these questions can help you figure out what you like. You can also take online quizzes or look at lists of hobbies to explore your interests.

Next, consider your strengths and skills. What are you good at? Do people often praise you for something specific? Are there things you find easy that others find hard? Knowing your strengths can guide you toward a major that fits your abilities. Self-reflection and feedback from friends and family can help you identify these strengths.

Finally, think about your values and priorities. What matters most to you in a career? Some people value work-life balance, while others seek job stability or want to help others. Understanding your values will help you choose a major that aligns with your goals and what you find important in life.

Researching Potential Majors

Once you know your interests and strengths, it’s time to explore potential majors. Start by looking at different fields of study:

  • STEM majors (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) often lead to careers in tech and healthcare. 
  • Humanities majors, like English or History, focus on understanding human culture and can lead to jobs in teaching or writing. 
  • The social sciences, like Psychology or Sociology, study human behavior and can lead to careers in social work or counseling.

To learn more about these majors, review course descriptions and program requirements. College websites and catalogs have this information. Look at what classes you would take and what skills you would learn.

It’s also important to research the job market and future trends. In the Inland Empire, industries like healthcare, education, and technology are growing. Resources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics and industry reports can help you understand which careers are in demand. This research can help you choose a major that leads to good job opportunities in your area

Gaining Experience and Exposure

Choosing a major is just the beginning. It’s important to gain experience and exposure in your chosen field to build toward a future career. Internships and part-time jobs are great ways to get practical experience. They are also great ways to confirm that your major is the right choice for you.

Your school’s career center is an excellent resource for finding opportunities that might not be available to the public.

Look for opportunities related to your major. For example, if you’re interested in healthcare, seek internships at hospitals or clinics.

Shadowing professionals and finding mentors can also be very helpful. Shadowing means spending time with someone who works in a job you’re interested in to see what their day is like. Mentors can offer advice and support as you explore your career options. To find mentors, talk to your teachers, join professional organizations, or connect with alumni from your college.

Getting involved in extracurricular activities is another good way to gain experience. Join clubs or organizations related to your major. For instance, if you’re studying business, you could join a business club. These activities help you build skills and make connections in your field.

Guidance and Support for Choosing a Major

Choosing a major is easier when you seek guidance and support. Academic advisors and counselors are valuable resources. They can help you understand your options, plan your courses, and explore career paths. 

During meetings with advisors, expect to discuss your interests, goals, and any concerns you have. They can provide insights and advice tailored to your needs.

Talking to family and friends is also important. They know you well and can offer helpful perspectives. Share your thoughts and listen to their advice, but remember to balance their input with your own aspirations and interests.

Connecting with professionals and alumni in your field of interest can provide real-world insights. Attend networking events, join online forums, or reach out through social media. These connections can offer mentorship, share their experiences, and help you understand what to expect in your chosen field. Building a strong network can open doors and provide support throughout your college journey and beyond.

Making an Informed Decision

Making an informed decision about your major involves evaluating your options carefully. Weigh the pros and cons of different majors by considering your interests, strengths, and career opportunities. Creating a decision matrix or a list of priorities can help you compare different majors side by side.

Remember, it’s okay to change your major if you discover a new passion or if your goals change. Many successful people have switched majors and found success in fields they didn’t originally consider. Flexibility is key.

Think about your long-term goals and how your major fits into them. What kind of career do you want? What lifestyle do you envision for yourself? Choosing a major is an important step, but it’s not the final one. Keep a long-term perspective and be open to new possibilities.

In summary, take the time to understand yourself, research potential majors, gain experience, seek guidance, and make an informed decision. Your major should align with your interests and goals, keeping you motivated and setting you on a path to a fulfilling career.

IESuccess is Here to Help You

Choosing the right major might seem daunting, but remember that it’s a journey of self-discovery and growth. Trust yourself and the process. With thoughtful research, guidance, and practical experiences, you can find a major that fits your interests and goals. Believe in your ability to make an informed decision.

IESuccess is dedicated to helping people like you navigate the path to college. Be sure to check out the other resources on this website, including tips for completing college applications, finding financial aid, and much more.