This blog post is part of a series that will help you as you apply to colleges. Today, I’ll share my own personal experiences with choosing a major and what I wish I knew when I made my decision. This post is for you if you’re feeling stuck deciding if you should play it safe and choose a major with guaranteed job security or choose a major that you’re passionate about.
Are you late to the party and want to know what’s going on? Start here.
Is it ok to apply undecided?
It’s totally fine if you’re on the fence or undecided about a major—applying undecided is a legitimate option. This doesn’t hurt your chances of getting in, and a large percentage of students attend college this way each year.
In fact, close to half of students across the country end up changing their major during their time in college. So, you’re in good company if you’re feeling unsure about a major or if you decide to switch at some point.
AND! If you do apply as undecided, almost every school has a Career Services Center that will help you as you figure it all out. Career Services at UML even offers personality tests and one-on-one sessions to help students discover career paths of a particular major. The cool part is that these services are offered to you the second you come to campus. You don’t have to wait until you’re in your junior or senior year of college.
What follows is some super quick advice that I wish someone had given me when I picked my major in college.
Advice from someone who took a while to figure out how to land a good-fitting job:
When choosing a major in college, stick with something you’re passionate about, but be realistic about what types of jobs there are in that field afterwards. Ask admissions counselors what folks in certain majors do with their degrees after graduation. I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, so I majored in English.
I played into the Millennial stereotype and literally chose my major with my eyes closed and didn’t think about anything other than how excited I was about all the books I was going to get to read for class.
It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do.
Looking back, I could have saved myself time, money and insane amounts of stress if I had just minored in marketing or something else to supplement my English degree.
This day and age, it’s very easy to double major or minor in two areas of study. There’s even the option to participate in an interdisciplinary program, where you can approach topics through different perspectives. All of these exist to help broaden your job pool once you graduate.
We know it’s a lot to ask that you make a huge life decision like choosing your professional future at this point in your life. It’s ok if you don’t have it all figured out. You’re not supposed to at this point. Going to college and living your life is what gives you the experience to figure out who you are and what you want to do in the future.
Something else to keep in mind: There are some people who find their inspiration and figure out what they want only after they’ve gained experience working in the professional world.
That’s just my two cents. Obviously, this won’t apply to everyone. I’m not saying you shouldn’t major in what you’re passionate about. After all, I do write for a living now and I wouldn’t trade my English degree for anything in the world.
Next week, we’ll talk about some of the things you should do in the fall of your junior year to apply to colleges.