Broaden Your Horizons: Deciding Your Major Can Wait

Upon entering college, students cannot really know for sure what they want to major in, regardless of how long they’ve been dreaming of being a doctor or envisioning themselves in front of a crowded courtroom. At best, the student has an idea which needs to be tested during the first couple of years of college. Most colleges don’t even require students to declare a major until after sophomore year, which gives students the opportunity to try different things and find out what they really like to do.

Bryna Blaine, College and Career Coordinator at WJ, argued that it is college itself that can help students the most in figuring out what they want to major in and what they want to spend the rest of their lives doing, which could differ from their initial dream jobs.

“In reality, most 17 year-olds have no idea what they want to major in, nor should they,” said Blaine.

High school does not expose students to all the possibilities in terms of areas of study. For example, supply chain management doesn’t exactly come to mind when considering possible majors, but it is widely offered in many colleges. Majors in engineering and architecture, which are popular majors with many career opportunities, are not classes that are widely taught in high school. How can students finishing high school know for sure what they want to major in if there are so many subject areas that they have not been exposed to?

If students are certain of what they want to study in college and head straight into their major, then they miss the opportunity to try different classes. There is no need to rush into a major and not give other classes the consideration they deserve. Switching majors can be avoided by testing the water first before diving into a major. By not switching majors, you can save both money and time in college.

Although there are significant benefits of having an idea of what you want to pursue, you don’t have to be certain about your choice going into college. Some colleges require you to choose a major or apply to a specific school within your university. But there are more options. Find what works for you, such as a liberal arts college that will give you a substantial amount of time before requiring you to choose major.

Don’t worry when you are visiting colleges, applying for schools or filling out any other informational sheets. If you don’t know what to put in the “major of interest” slot, you have plenty of time to figure it out. Take a variety of classes, do internships, discover and explore your possibilities, and in the end, follow your passions so you end up doing what you enjoy most.