When I started college, I was undecided.
I was so undecided that my school literally featured a picture of me and a quote about my story on the “undecided” page of their website, I was the poster child for not knowing what I wanted to study and do with my life.
Naturally, I eventually figured it out.
Are you stuck in the same boat? Here are some ways you can narrow it down and figure out what you should study in college.
1. Make a list of your favorite subjects
What did you enjoy studying in high school or at your community college? Which subjects made you excited to go to class, or did you know you were good at?
Make a list of the subjects in school which you’ve enjoyed in the past, or maybe even some subjects you haven’t had a chance to really get into but have interested you.
2. Make a list of your least favorite subjects
This may seem counterproductive, but trust me on this. Next, make a list of subjects you hated.
For example, math and I were not a good match. I was good at math, but I hated it with a passion. When looking into majors I was deciding between two.. then I realized one had a pretty significant math component to it which I hadn’t considered. That knocked it from my list, and I found myself decided.
Sometimes making a list of what you don’t like, can help you narrow in on what you do like.
3. Tap into your hobbies and passions
Take a step outside of school, outside of your academic schedule. What do you do for fun?
Do you enjoy watching TV or listening to music? Consider a major in entertainment, marketing, theatre, or music composition.
Do you enjoy debate club, public speaking, or taking on leadership roles? Consider a major in political science, communications, or management.
Taking a look at the things that you enjoy, outside of school, will help you narrow in on a career you’ll love.
4. Take a look at the end goal – dream job
Speaking of career’s you’ll love… what is your dream job?
Don’t worry if you can’t answer this right now – it took me until my 3rd year of college to figure out my dream job (marketing for Disney btw, in case anyone was wondering 😉 )
For some people though, your dream job may have been in the back of your head all along. Do you see yourself as a future biologist? Actor? Physical therapist? What future career makes you excited?
5. Research into jobs in each field
Take a look at the things you’ve narrowed down in above, and start looking at the fields and majors involved in each item you’ve listed.
Read job descriptions for careers in those fields and see if anything catches your eye. Anything that makes you excited, even the slightest. Anything that makes you think “I could totally do that” or makes you want to learn more.
Keep in mind that there’s a lot more jobs in each field than one would originally assume, do some deep digging and make a list of anything that stands out to you.
6. Talk to your career center
The career center on your high school or college campus can be a MAJOR help in figuring out what you want to do with your life / what you want to major in.
The career counselors can give you insight into the everyday life of someone in your interested fields, and sometimes they can even set you up to job shadow under someone in that field. Reach out and set up an appointment to see how they can help you!
7. Take introduction classes
Now that you’ve done research into the fields of study that interest you, narrow those down to 2 – 3 fields and take intro classes in those topics.
Doing this was the #1 thing that helped me decide on my major.
I knew that I was interested in Multimedia and Communications, so I enrolled in Multimedia 101 and Communications 101 in the same semester. After a few weeks in these classes I noticed that I was more and more excited about attending my Communications classes, and found myself more genuinely interested in the topics we were discussing in class there than in my other classes. After that semester was over I went and declared myself as a Communications major.
Doing this also gives you a chance to meet the instructors within the departments and learn about their teaching styles and the other courses available to you within those majors.
8. Talk to people in your interested fields
If you have the ability to talk to people within the fields which you are interested in, do it. Speak with professors who teach in the department, upper classmen who may have insight into how the department runs, and any alumni who your career center may be able to connect you to.
Any advice or insight on what the department has to offer is valuable.
9. Reflect, revisit, and relax
Don’t stress, don’t rush. Reflect on how doing all of these things has felt to you. Which topic do you feel excited or intrigued by? Where does your interest lie?
Take a step back and look at everything you’ve considered.
Take your time, talk to the people in your circle, gather advice that you can.. but at the end of the day do what feels right to you.
10. Remember your major isn’t everything
At the end of the day, your major is not everything. While your major does direct you toward a specific path, it does not barricade you on that path. You can stray, and find jobs and futures in other fields even if you majored in something different.
This decision, while important, is not life-altering.
Take a deep breath, and go.
How did you choose your college major?