Wondering how to choose a major? Feeling confused and lost? All high school graduates have been in the same position. To alleviate the discomfort of choosing, students can choose the “out of the box thinking”.
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- Choose a major that genuinely interests you for greater academic success.
- Talk to academic advisors and older students to understand the practicalities of each major.
- Consider job availability and earning potential in your chosen field to balance dreams with reality.
What should I major in?
Choosing the right career can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re not sure what you want to do for a living. How do you pick a job that’s a good fit for you if you’ve never done it before? A great starting point is to know your career personality type. John Holland, a psychology professor from the University of Michigan, came up with a clever way to help. He identified six personality traits and grouped all jobs into six types. His method, called the Holland Code, asks you simple questions about what you like doing. This helps match your interests with jobs you’d probably enjoy. This approach makes finding the right career a lot less confusing.
In the online community, students decided to play a game and based on the results, determine which specialty suits them best. The questions were the following:
- Write your favorite game (board game, video game, any game) and why.
- On a scale from 1 to 10, write your preference for abstraction vs concreteness ( where 1 is the most abstract and 10 is the most concrete).
- Share your dying wish that makes one positive change in the world before you leave.
Everyone was eager to share their results and receive a major that can suit them:
“Okey, my answers are: minecraft bc i have so many memories playing with my friends and family; 8 for concreteness; and my wish is to make ppl more ambitious, strive for a better tmrw, and to be able to help ppl.”
Civil Engineering 🔧— take your minecraft designs and put it in real life. Very hands-on and practical, build a better future by building smarter infrastructure
“Oh, sounds like fun. So, my answers are: Roblox (as a platform) because it has a multitude of games. I can play one game until I’m bored and then I can play a different game. In like a couple of months, I can come back and check what’s new in the game that I quit earlier. For the second question – 3. And the last one is to end Poverty.”
Economics 📈 — seems like you enjoy variety (which econ certainly provides in how interdisciplinary it is), it’s fairly theoretical, and allows you to address issues surrounding poverty through policy and research.
Love this idea! Mine are: number 1 – exploding kittens because funny art, fun card game, and cats; number 2 – 3; and number 3 – solve all environmental issues. Cannot wait to find out!
Architecture/Urban Planning 🏙 — seems like you might enjoy something artistic and strategic, which architecture and urban planning certainly are; coupled with your passion for environmental issues is perfect because we need sustainable cities.
Doing this to see if you can figure out my intended major😂. So, my answers are: Tetris or Super Mario Kart, 7, and to fix the US foster care system/immigration system cuz it was hell for me, so I know ppl are def struggling for no good reason in the richest country like 🙄
Science, Technology, and Society 🌐 — great blend between the concreteness of STEM and public policy/law.
I’m here just for the game. So, the game would be FIFA, number 5, and to end wars (cheesy but true).
International Relations 🤝— I’ve never played Fifa but I assume it involves some level of teamwork and strategy, both of which are certainly nice to have in IR, and allows you to work towards global peace and diplomacy.
Alrigh, I’ve got a lot to share. Cannot wait to find out the results. First, Hollow knight – super fun game, love the exploration. If board game, Scrabble for sure. Second, 6-7. Third, develop a drug that could help the body more easily detect mutations and mistakes in DNA and fix it more rapidly and more often. Lead to a lower rate and chance of cancer.
Computational Biology 🧬— biochemistry might be the more straightforward suggestion but computational biology is also very applicable (and cutting-edge) in the fields of genetics and genomics. Great blend of abstraction/theory and practical experimentation too.
Let’s roll. My answers are: chess because it’s fun; number 3; and either find a way to fix the Earth or live sustainably in space.
Geophysics 🌎 — a dose of abstraction/theory from mathematical models and physics which seems like something you might have a knack for, and very applicable if you’re interested in planetary and earth systems.
Excited to find out the answer. So, here you are. Favorite game: Jeopardy because I know a lot of random otherwise useless trivia. Number 5. And the last one, people can replace fear with the drive to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.
Education 📚 — extrapolating from Jeopardy, you might have a knack for intellectual challenges and have a strong knowledge base. Also, what better way to empower people than through education.
3 Tips for Choosing a Major in College
Choosing a major in college can feel like a massive decision, almost as if you’re choosing the rest of your life. It’s a big choice, but don’t sweat it too much. Most people change their minds a couple of times, and that’s okay! You’re not just picking a subject to study; you’re also figuring out what you want to do for a career and how you want to shape your future. Here are three straightforward tips to help you make this important decision a bit easier.
First, get to know what really excites you. We often do better in subjects we like, and a major should be something that makes you want to learn more. Think about your favorite classes in high school or topics you could talk about for hours. Maybe you love the idea of understanding the human mind, which could lead you to major in psychology. Or perhaps you’re excited by the idea of renewable energy, which might mean environmental science is the major for you. Look deep into what you enjoy; after all, you’ll be spending a lot of time studying this subject. Don’t just pick something because it sounds “smart” or because your parents are pushing you towards it. You’ll only end up stressed and unhappy. You’ve got to live your life, not someone else’s idea of what your life should be.
Second, talk to people who know the ropes. This usually means connecting with academic advisors at your college. They’re pretty much like career guides who can tell you what each major involves in terms of classes, workload, and future job opportunities. They can help you weigh the pros and cons and can tell you about majors you might not even know exist. Some colleges even let you take a sort of “test drive” by offering courses that give you a taste of what a major will be like. You can also chat with older students in the major you’re considering. They can offer insights into what classes are like, which professors are the best, and what kinds of jobs you can get after graduation.
Lastly, think about your future but be practical. It’s important to chase your dreams, but it’s also essential to know what those dreams will cost you and how you’re going to pay the bills. Different careers have different earning potentials and job availability. Some fields, like tech and healthcare, are booming and may offer more job opportunities and higher salaries. On the other hand, some majors like history or philosophy might be super interesting but might not have as many job openings. So, you have to balance your interests with some practical considerations. How much will you likely earn in your chosen field? Will you need more school after your bachelor’s degree? These are good questions to ask as you’re making your decision.
To wrap it up, choosing a major is a big step, but you’re not alone, and it’s not a life sentence. You can change your mind. So, first, dig deep and find what truly interests you. Then, talk to people who can offer you advice and additional information. And finally, think about your future in realistic terms. If you balance what you love with what is practical, you’ll likely end up with a major that not only interests you but also opens doors to a promising future.
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