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Choose a Major and Explore the Possibilities

Trying To Find The Right Major?

This LibGuide was created by Francisco (Library Student Assistant) with the help of Mara Cota. For more information or research consultation, feel free to contact Mara (Reference Librarian) at mccota@sdsu.edu

 

Finding a major can be difficult when there are so many out there to consider. This is a frequent struggle for many college students. Here we will give you some information and resources to help you narrow your search.  

Focusing Points

Below are some points that you should think about as you explore subject interest, top college majors, majors and careers, and lifestyle. These points will help you reflect on your preferences and ideas as you explore new information. Remember to take in information one step at a time, do not overwhelm yourself, and take your time.  

1) Focus on what you really like or holds your attention

  • Focus on your personality. What are some of the things you prefer or dislike and how would that relate toward a career you might be considering?
  • Is there anything that motivates you? If so, what would it be? If something motivates you, you're more likely to respond attentively, perform better, and feel more energized. Keep in mind that having motivation could be reaching a goal you set for yourself, working to improve a certain skill, or even performing a task you love. 
  • Can you envision yourself doing something every morning without hesitation? Often, being able to study or work on something without having to drag yourself to it is a good sign, meaning that you have an interest in the task and therefore can keep working on it without a problem. 
  • Consider looking at subjects that have kept you on your toes. The major of your choice can be a little easier to pick when you consider subjects that you like and that can be found in a specific major. Examples can be mathematics and how it relates to engineering, or English and how it relates to linguistics. 
  • Another thing to consider are the classes you were really good at previously. Thinking of high school classes where you earned an A or were simply easier than others are useful to consider as you declare a major.

2) Gathering Information

  • One of the first things you can do is try interviewing people who are studying or have finished the major. These people can be family members, friends, counselors, or even members of the faculty. Do some brief research before you talk to them and have some questions ready to ask regarding the major. 
  • Searching for facts and opinions on current majors using social media platforms is another way to gather some basic information on the different majors out there. 
  • Pay attention to how you react to certain classes and/or maybe consider entering classes where you can explore parts of the major. There you can gain some experience and see if you like a certain career. 
  • It would be a good idea to look at skills and abilities that might go along with a certain major. You might find out you enjoy it. At the same time, keep in mind that not having a certain skill or ability for a certain major doesn't necessarily make you less capable.
  • Finally, research different colleges and universities. You'll inform yourself about different majors and also see which ones are offered. 

3) Making Up Your Mind

  • As you start gathering the information, make a list of the benefits and disadvantages that the major might have. From there, you can start crossing out any major that you have little interest in. 
  • Consider the possibility of adding both a major and a minor if you are interested in more than one area. 
  • Ask yourself, "Does it reflect my interest?" and "Does the major go along with the type of lifestyle I want for my future?"
  • Lifestyle decisions may include salary/money, time, comfort, mental health, freedom and other considerations...
  • For a more expensive lifestyle-- traveling freely, top model cars, an expensive house--you might want to find a major that gives you a high paying salary. On the other hand, you might desire a less expensive lifestyle where you get enough money to satisfy basic needs and go out once in a while.
  • Time is also an essential factor: how much time are you willing to spent studying, doing assignments, and covering other requirements?
  • Consider if the major constantly takes you out of your comfort zone. If so, most of the time or rarely? Will the major lead to occupations that promote good mental health or lead to more stressful situations? There are people who are great working under stressful situation and others who might prefer to be placed in less stressful environments. 
  • Also, there are majors that give you more freedom to explore different topics and subjects. Some majors tend to be more flexible and give you an opportunity to engage on a greater range of occupations.

4) Time to Take Action

  • Contact the college/university you are considering or attending in order to declare the major or for help finalizing your choice.
  • Try doing internships, part-time jobs, or volunteering in order to explore more about the major and experience what it might be like once you graduate. 
  • Remember to check for any special requirements that the college/university might stipulate for the major.
  • Keep in mind that there is time to change majors if you believe that it does not represent your interest. Try going over steps 1 to 3 again. 

Assessment tools at SDSU Career Services 

  • San Diego State University offers career assessment tools to help give you ideas about majors, career paths, and even graduate programs. Contact a career counselor for access to one or more of the assessments. Information at the Career Services page.

 

References:

Epp, T. (2020, Nov. 10). The 10 Most Popular College Majors. Best Colleges. https://www.bestcolleges.com/blog/most-popular-college-majors/

Saddleback College. Five Steps to Selecting a major. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2020, from https://www.saddleback.edu/transfer/five-steps-selecting-major