With so many college majors to choose from—everything from engineering to education to art—picking what you study may feel like the hardest choice of your life. After all, the decision impacts your future: what kind of job you might have, whether you need to go to graduate school, how much you can expect to earn after you graduate, and more. But to make the decision a bit easier, here are some tips that show you how to choose a college major:
The beauty of not knowing what your major should be is that you can sample everything: music, history, math, English, whatever. In fact, that’s what college is all about, isn’t it? Discovering who you are and what you like. So try a bunch of different classes, especially as a freshman. The only rule here: be open to new things.
2. Seek advice
Before you rush into making a choice, talk to your academic advisor, other professors, career services if your school offers it, your parents, and peers. Take their suggestions into account and make a mental chart of the pros and cons of each major you’re interested in.
3. Choose what you’re passionate about
If you still can’t make a decision, think about what you love. Do you spend a lot of time listening to or playing music? Is your nose always in a book? Get a thrill out of crunching numbers? Trust your gut, follow your passion, and you won’t make the wrong choice.
4. Consider your skills
In college you may discover that your skills overlap with your academic interests, so start by taking stock of your talents. Are you a naturally gifted writer? Do you like to build things in your spare time? Do you draw for fun? Are you good at puzzles? Every talent has an applicable field of study—all you have to do is figure out what it is.
5. Think about what you want to do after you graduate
Let’s face it: college is supposed to prepare you for a job. That means your field of study will influence where you work and what you do. So it pays to think ahead. What kind of work might you be interested in down the line? Write all your ideas down. Then do a little research. What are the educational requirements for each job and what majors best fulfill them? Now match your skills and passions to that list.