One question you’ll be asked over and over again as you begin applying to colleges is, “So, what’s your major?”
Over time, this question can become annoying, especially if you’re like the other 20-50% of incoming freshman that are undecided, according to author Virginia Gordon in her 1995 book, The Undecided College Student an Academic and Career Advising Challenge. If you’re feeling this way, the truth is, there is no magic formula that will help you decide what you want to do for the rest of your life.
In fact, according to a study conducted by CareerBuilder.com, over 20% of college graduates were employed in a job that had nothing to do with their major. See? Even people that thought they had it all figured out through college changed their minds once they’d graduated.
Despite this, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take steps to forge a path towards your future. As Robert Frost once said, “the only way forward is through”.
According to Bradford Holmes, of the U.S. News & World Report, declaring a major may make you eligible for greater financial benefit going into college such as, “department-specific scholarships, special freshman housing [etc.]”.
If you have some interest in a specific major but are still undecided this is another situation where it may be beneficial to declare because, depending on the program, some classes may only be offered once per year.
There are a couple of different options you could consider to help you decide your career trajectory:
- Attend a community college for the first two years: Along with the requirements for your major, you’ll also have to complete general education courses. If your major is undecided then it may benefit you to attend community college until those credits are completed.
- See what interests you and audit classes: The only way to see what majors are out there is to explore. SUNY Plattsburgh advises undecided freshman to narrow down the field by considering their interests and how those interests correspond to a college major before enrolling in an introductory course.
Or consider these questions:
- What is your favorite subject? Why?
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
- What do you see as your greatest strengths? Weaknesses?
- What environment do you see yourself working in?
- What resources are available at school to help you consider your options?
The USF Career Success Center can provide you with resources that will aid your decision.
USF Career Success Center Tower N204
8:00a.m. – 4:30p.m.
CareerBuilder study as qtd. in O’Shaughnessy. (15 November 2013). New study shows careers and college majors often don’t match. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/new-study-shows-careers-and-college-majors-often-dont-match/
Gordon qtd. in Freedman, Liz. (28 June 2013). The developmental disconnect in choosing a major: Why institutions should prohibit choice until second year. Retrieved from https://dus.psu.edu/mentor/2013/06/disconnect-choosing-major/
Holmes, B. (7 March 2016). Pros, cons of applying to college as an undecided major. Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-admissions-playbook/articles/2016-03-07/pros-cons-of-applying-to-college-as-an-undecided-major
SUNY Plattsburgh. (12 July 2017). Common misconceptions and advice for undeclared students. Retrieved from http://web.plattsburgh.edu/academics/advising/undeclaredadvice.php