Congratulations! If you are reading this, I presume that you are about to, or are already enrolled in a college or university, but you still don’t know how to find the right major for you. That is ok! Simply taking the step to further your education is already one great decision down. Finding the right major for you is the fun part. The right major for you is wholly dependant upon you, and nobody else. Although the decision is yours, there are a few ways that you can effectively narrow your search so as to guarantee that you choose and pursue the right major for you. We will go through some of these ways below. Let’s get started.
Perform a Self-Evaluation: In finding the right major for you, you must take an honest audit of your own skills, likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. As much as you think that you are good at everything, in most cases, it isn’t true. Sorry to burst your bubble, it is the same for me. Admitting to yourself that you have weaknesses is an important part of finding the right major to pursue. I like to break a self evaluation up into a couple of categories of competence; Social Competence, Quantitative Competence, Verbal Competence and General Reasoning Competence. So let’s start with social competence. There are many personality types out there that lend themselves to different career choices, and therefore different majors. Take a look at yourself and be truthful, are you an outgoing life of the party type or an introverted wallflower type? Are you somewhere in the middle? Do you prefer to work alone or in a group setting? Do you get along well with others or frequently clash with people? What is your ideal vacation? Alone? With others? Once you have answered these questions truthfully, you will have a much better idea of a career that would fit your personality. Great, let’s move on. Quantitative competence is pretty self explanatory. In order to have a high level of quantitative competence you likely find mathematics to be easily understood. Everybody who has gone through the United States’ school system knows whether math comes easily to them, or not. Again, be truthful here. Lying to yourself and saying that math is a strength when deep down you know it is not will only set you up for failure. Stick with what works and be truthful! Verbal competence much like quantitative competence is relative to one’s performance in school. You will know whether you are good at writing, comprehension and retention. If you are, great! You have a special skill. If you aren’t, no big deal, move on to something that you are good at. But again, be real with yourself. Last but not least is general reasoning competence. Do you have good common sense. I know a lot of people who are horrible at quantitative and verbal thought but have an amazing aptitude when it comes to common sense. Although schools do not teach classes in common sense, there are majors that lend themselves to people with a good grasp on the world.
Forget About the Money: Counterintuitive, I know. But if there is one thing that I have learned from my career, and the careers of others that I have watched, it is that the money comes when somebody practices in a field that they are passionate about. I have seen people take jobs in order to chase money, some of them made a lot of money, don’t get me wrong. But those who were only in it for the monetary reward were miserable. Friends of mine who followed passions in whatever field they enjoyed, not only were happier, but were also very successful. The way this works is the happier you are, the better you will ultimately be at your career. A happier person will do better work, be more engaged in the industry and ultimately, learn what they need to learn to move up in whatever field they have chosen. See how passion breeds success? It is a great system to follow. So what am I saying? Do not major in a pre-law course of study if you have no interest in the United States legal system. You will be miserable and all the money in the world can’t change that. If you are hell bent however on making money your top priority, then you should find your passion and then find a major that can incorporate your passion in the most economically viable way. For instance, if you love pets, and money, look to a Veterinary track rather than Social Work.
Look at the Options: If you are already enrolled in a college or university, then you will have to take a look at what options you have available to you. If you are not, you should take a look at a large university for a list of the majors that are offered. You will see the same majors over and over, with full descriptions. Once you have looked at the options, you want to take the universe of available majors and narrow it down to five or so that you have a legitimate interest in. This process should not take you more than a few hours if you have done the self examination step above. If you are a math person then you will usually look to majors in engineering, mathematics, science, economics, finance, etc. If you are a verbal person you may look to English, Pre-Law, etc. Once you have narrowed down the fields of study, you are in a great position to jump in and do some real world research. Find people in those tracks and ask them about the course work. Find people that your parents know in those chosen fields and ask them about their experiences. This type of real world experience is invaluable and should not be ignored.
Have you had an experience choosing the right or wrong major? Share if for the rest of the community. Every little bit helps!