5 Tips for Deciding on a College Major

College Major Tips

  • Explore Different Majors
  • Take Career Tests
  • Do Job Research
  • Ask Loved Ones for Help
  • Think About Your Own Interests

Deciding on a college major is something that you will usually do at the beginning or in the middle of your sophomore year. While many students enter college with an idea of what they want to study, many change their minds after taking introductory courses and gaining experience with more subjects. Before you freak out about what to study, find out how you can more easily pick the right major for you.

Explore Different Majors

Lindsey Mayfield and Julie Mayfield, writers for U.S. News & World Report, encourage students to explore different majors and to take courses in different fields before picking a major. Though you might find psychology fascinating, you might change your mind after taking courses on abnormal psychology or research statistics. Make sure that you look at the requirements for getting a degree in those fields too. As much as you might like some courses in a major, you may not like the upper courses required.

Take Career Tests

Contact the career development office of your college or university and ask if it offers career aptitude tests. Career aptitude tests can take the form of a statements that you answer true or false too or multiple choice tests that ask you to pick from several responses to answer a question. A career adviser will use your responses to determine what careers are best for you. These tests can reveal hidden interests that you didn’t even know you had and help you pick a major that will let you succeed in that career.

Do Job Research

Law professors often tell pre-law students that there are more students enrolled in law school than there are practicing lawyers in the world because they want students to understand the hardships that can come later. If you earn a degree in a popular field, you may face a lot of competition when it comes to landing jobs and even doing internships. When you do some job research and look at things like starting salaries, experience needed and future outlook for careers that interest you, you can decide what major to pick.

Ask Loved Ones for Help

Who knows you better than your close friends and loves ones? If you’re on the fence and have a hard time deciding on a college major, ask your loved ones for a little help. They can remind you of what topics and subjects you feel passionate about and give you help deciding what subjects interest you. Those loved ones may even help you weed out some majors that you considered. They can point out that you dislike doing math homework, prefer working on your own rather than in small groups or that you have a hard time working under pressure.

Think About Your Own Interests

Far too many students focus too much on the future instead of their own interests. They wind up picking majors that will help them make money but majors that do not interest them. If you want to avoid feeling burned out in the future, you should think about your own interests and pick a major that works with those interests. Those who love helping others and feel empathetic towards others might succeed as a social work, while a student who thrives under pressure and likes taking charge may do well in the business field.


Choosing a major is one of the most important decisions that you will make it college. It will set up the classes that you take in your later years and what you will do after college. Deciding on a college major requires that you think about your interests and get help from others.

Related Resources: