Declaring a major is one of the most important decisions a college student makes, but you needn't lose sleep over it. Begin by asking yourself some key questions, including:
• Which high school subjects do I enjoy?
• What types of assignments interest me?
• What is difficult for others but comes easily to me?
Visit a Career Counselor
Take advantage of your college's career center. Career counselors can suggest books and self-assessment tools to help you in your quest for a major. They'll also put you in touch with a faculty member or student leader who can answer your questions about a particular department. Through them, you can get off-the-record information such as which curriculums require the most reading and which professors are the most fun. When it comes time for crafting a rsum, career counselors can also help you present your major as an asset for your targeted career field.
In addition, your career center or academic department of interest should have a list of alumni who've gone through the department and what they're doing today. Can you see yourself in their shoes one day? If so, get connected with your college's alumni mentoring program.
Test-Drive a Major
Why not sit in on a few classes? Or better yet, consider landing an internship, even if you have to work for free. It's an opportunity to explore a field without a long-term commitment.
Keep Your Options Open
If you're still undecided or think you might change your major, it's best to enroll in a college with a variety of solid programs. That way, you won't have to change universities if you decide to switch majors.
Acceptance into certain programs can be competitive. If you're interested in, say, journalism, and know that enrollment is limited, declare journalism as your major. Should you change your mind, it'll be easier to transfer out of journalism than to transfer in.
That said, keep in mind that there are multiple avenues to most careers. Consider your long-term goals, but also choose a major that'll get you through the next four years. If you'll be going on to graduate school, you can always take post-baccalaureate classes in order to meet the admission requirements. For example, medical schools accept candidates from any major. Ultimately, employers are more concerned with your skill set than with the title of your degree.
For more help in selecting a major, visit these Web sites:
Mymajors.com surveys your grades and personal preferences, and then generates a list of majors you may want to consider. Click on a major for a description of what you can do with it, and for links to more info, relevant university departments, and books on the subject.
Quintessential Careers shows you how the Internet can assist in your search for a major.
Dalia Wheatt is from Cleveland, Ohio. She has worked as an editor, freelance writer, and Spanish teacher.