It’s a myth that you have to choose a major before you go to college. Many colleges offer programs to help freshmen figure out what to study, and, nationwide, roughly half of students change majors at least once.
But knowing a little about what you want to study can help focus your college search. Here are a few suggestions to help give you an idea of what you might want to study.
Identify what you’re good at — and what you love. Your talents and interests are clues about which majors you should consider. If you’re passionate about conservation and the natural world, a major like Environmental Science might be the best fit. If you dream of starting a business — or you already have — Entrepreneurship or Management might be the answer. It’s a no-brainer that most people perform better on projects they enjoy, and if you study a subject you’re passionate and curious about, you’re likely to make higher grades and get more involved.
Do some exploring. College websites have information about the majors offered at each school, which often include descriptions of the classes required for the degree and jobs held by graduates from each department. Which classes sound most interesting? Which jobs sound appealing?
Talk to adults in the careers you’re considering. What did they major in, and how did their major lead them to where they are today? Think about scheduling “informational interviews”: sit-down conversations with people working in the field that interests you. Your parents, teachers or school counselor can help you connect with adults who are happy to spend 20 minutes talking with a polite student who arrives prepared with questions (“How did you choose your major?” is a good one). Remember to send thank-you notes.
If you’re intrigued by a major but not sure what job you’d get with that degree, keep in mind that internships will help you build a bridge between the classroom and the world of work. An internship — either part-time or full-time — will let you sample a career related to your major and gain professional skills.