choosing a major 
a wooden puppet

Choosing a major and a minor in college will definitely affect your career and, consequently, your life. That’s why deciding which major to choose can be a very challenging process.

But it’s natural to be reluctant to make the final decision, as this is something that the majority of the students go through. That’s why we created this guide, which should make it easier for you to choose a major and help you feel more certain that you made the right choice.

Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • When choosing your major in college, start with what interests you, what is your passion, and what you would like to do in the future.
  • Do your research to make sure that what interests you matches your values and priorities.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for advice from other students, family, and friends, but also those who are already working in that profession.
  • Keep a plan B in mind in case you need to switch your major.

Choosing a Major Step 1:Discover Yourself

Since your choice will affect your future, it is logical why choosing a major is so hard. Evaluate your past first in order to see what best suits your personality.

Find Your Passion

It’s best to do what you love and what drives you. Let that be the starting point for your decision.

If you’ve always wanted to help people, your passions will lead you towards professions like therapy and social work, which let you do exactly that. Or if you’ve loved math ever since elementary school, then you can narrow down your choices to STEM fields and start exploring them.

However, even if you don’t know what your passion is or if you are interested in many fields, you just have to take your time and dig a little deeper, and you will find some clues.

Identify Your Values

You must have had a situation where you took some action but didn’t feel proud afterwards. There lies the answer to the question of what values guide you through life and how they shape your decisions.

Think about what makes you happy, makes you proud, and affects your self-confidence. The crucial thing here is to only consider paths that are congruent with your principles.

Figure Out Your Capabilities

What are your skills? In what subjects did you excel in primary and secondary school? What were you good at in terms of non-formal education?

Answers to these questions should point you to your strengths, and those should be an important factor in your decision.

But don’t entirely disregard the things in which you were less successful because you can improve them over time and through education.

Decide on Priorities

Consider this example.

You wish to practice law. You know your way around many legal specialties, including criminal, civil, business, and environmental law, but you’re not sure which major to pick.

To arrive at the best possible decision, try to isolate your number one priority.

Business law is definitely your best bet if your priority is to earn a lot of money and work in a prestigious Manhattan office. On the other hand, environmental law is a better choice for you if protecting the environment is your life’s mission.

Priorities like these should guide your decision. No matter if it’s an economic aspect, your values, or the freedom that goes with some jobs, give your best effort to recognize the most honest answer here, because that’s the one that’ll ultimately allow you to live your best life.

Choosing a Major Step 2: Do Your Research

This should not be a decision you make based on random circumstances or because others have done it. This is a decision that requires some research.

Research Colleges

Each college has its own brochures, website, and public relations department. Some of them organize lectures and events that are open to the public. You can get all the relevant information about the major that you are interested in from sources like these.

Some of the questions that should help you decide whether this particular major is the right one for you are the following:

  • Does that college I really like have that specific major?
  • Which classes are mandatory and which are optional?
  • What are the classes like?
  • Is dual education included?


There are many other factors that might be important for you, so get to work and do your research because this is one of your most important decisions up until that point.

Research Market Trends

The internet has made information more accessible than ever before. In a few clicks, you can explore the current situation in the IT market, for example, and how economic and social factors will affect it in the future.

There is also official data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that shows which jobs are growing and which are declining in demand.

This type of research is very important to basically future-proof your career choice as much as possible and reduce the chances of regretting it once college is over.

Research Salary Trends

As previously said, choosing your major will have a significant impact on what you do in the future. Therefore, you need to explore salary trends, as income is typically one of the key factors in making a decision for most people.

Digitalization in the 21st century has brought about the creation of numerous new jobs while also directly influencing wage growth within those specific sectors. This serves as an example of how digitalization has transformed the employment landscape and its corresponding impact on income.

Choosing a Major Step 3: Get Advice

Get Advice From a Professional

There is usually a career advisor or a faculty member who’s in charge of the major you are interested in. They are seasoned professionals with a lot of experience, and they are able or even trained to help you make a final decision.

Do not hesitate to schedule a consultation, present your point of view, and listen to what they have to say. To get the most out of this, prepare a list of questions beforehand.

Get Advice From Others in the Field

People who have already been through the process of choosing a major and who, on top of that, work in the industry that you are interested in are more than qualified to share their experience, expertise, and firsthand information with you and help point you in the right direction.

They have the latest industry information and a personal example of what’s ahead of you, all of which can be immensely helpful for coming to a decision. You can even ask one of them to be your mentor, as this can immensely fast-track your career success.

Get Advice From Friends & Family

Last but not least, ask your parents and friends.

If your parents went through the same period and struggled with similar doubts and questions, they will be happy to advise you and give you support.

It’s also easier to make a decision if you have input from a friend who was in the same shoes two or three years ago.

Choosing a Major: Other Options

It’s normal to have second thoughts about your major choice if you’re torn between two or more or if you discover that something you’re very interested in isn’t a part of your major’s program.

We have included a few ideas for you to think about if you find yourself in one of these dilemmas.

Do a Double Major

Selecting a double major is an excellent way to expand your field of expertise and get a start on a career that requires multidisciplinary knowledge. Keep in mind that this way, you graduate with one degree but become a specialist in two different fields.

If you’re interested in economics and politics, for instance, you can double major in both fields, which will allow you to have an edge in a job hunt over someone who’s applying for a job just as an economics major.

A higher level of education and experience can open doors to more job opportunities and higher earnings. However, there are definitely some downsides to consider, such as having less free time for social events or activities you enjoy.

Do a Minor

You can always pick another subject to study alongside your major if you feel the need to expand your knowledge.

When choosing a minor in college, the one you ultimately select can be closely related to your major or it can be in an entirely other area of study (for example, a major in business and a minor in music), so take advantage of this as there’s no rule preventing it.

In any case, the extra subject area will help you stand out by showing that you are flexible, curious, and eager to learn and grow.

Design Your Own Major

You should consider designing your own major if you have a wide range of interests that don’t fit into any of the current majors. This is hard but not impossible, as all you need to do is believe in your ability to make a difference and be willing to devote time to this project.

It is not an easy path to create a new major since you must first research which universities allow this option. Then, you have to get your major approved, which means working with advisers and professors who will back your idea and guide you along the route to realizing it.

And then, after graduation, you will have to enter the job market and convince future employers of the value and benefits of your major.

3 Extra Tips to Consider When Choosing a Major

a paper with a work 'major' on it

Carefully consider your options. After thoroughly researching the universities, their tuition fees, and the array of employment opportunities after graduation, it’s time to do a detailed comparative analysis.

Pull out the yellow legal pad and fill out the pros and cons list for each of the top choices to make sure you’re making a well-informed decision.

Prioritize your interests and talents. Don’t forget that succeeding will be much simpler and more achievable if you do the things you are good at and that really get your motor going.

Explore what you enjoy and do well, and you’ll be more motivated to put in the effort and eventually more satisfied with the actual work.

Do not stress about it. If you are having difficulty deciding on a major, keep in mind that you can always change it, or you can opt for a double major or a minor. Getting worked up about it will only cloud your judgment, so make sure to take your time, relax, and not rush the decision.

Final Thoughts

Your major sets the stage for your entire professional life, so choose wisely.

Consider who you are and what you excel at; ask for advice from those who are qualified to help you; and don’t be afraid to make a change along the way if you realize you’ve made a mistake.

Keep in mind that even just choosing to go to college is already a step in the right direction that will help you reach your long-term professional goals.


#1. When should you decide on a major?

Major selection is typically delayed until the second year of college. Until then, you should learn about a variety of subjects in order to get a feel for what interests you the most.

#2. Can you change your major?

Yes, you can change your major. About one-third of undergraduates switch majors at some point, and this is far preferable to feeling like you missed your calling in life.

#3. Can you apply to colleges without deciding your major?

Yes, you can apply to colleges without deciding your major! In fact, studies show that 20–50% of freshmen do not have a declared major when starting college. If you’re still undecided, give yourself some time to think it over.