Declaring a major is something every college student goes through. For some, it’s a no-brainer. Others might find it more difficult.
There are some things to keep in mind as you navigate choosing an area of study.
Tip number one: there’s no rush. There is no rule stating that students must immediately decide on a major when entering college. Rushing to choose a major could lead to being unhappy with the choice because it’s not thought out. Some students may find themselves in a major they realize they don’t enjoy but feel trapped in because they’ve also taken courses required for said major. Ultimately, don’t rush the decision.
Tip number two: explore your interests. This pairs with the first tip. If you’re not sure what to major in, take courses that you think you’d enjoy. Personally, I’ve taken some courses I thought I’d hate but they ended up being some of my favorites. Similarly, students should understand that being interested in a particular topic doesn’t necessarily mean that they would absolutely love a course in that topic. Pittsburg State offers the Exploratory Studies program for students who aren’t ready to declare a major just yet. Within that program, students can take a wide variety of courses and try to discover what interests them and explore possible majors they might be considering.
Tip number three: choose for yourself. If everyone in your family is a doctor, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should be a doctor too. If you’re expected to pursue any specific career path, really consider if that path is one you’d find contentment in. After graduating, no student wants to be stuck with a major they don’t enjoy, down thousands of dollars in tuition, and with no idea what to do next. Expectations can weigh you down, and it may upset some to decide against their expectations for you. However, the decision needs to be what would make you the most satisfied and fulfilled.
Tip number four: look at the geography. Students should consider where they want to end up geographically after college. If you want to major in oceanography, it might be difficult to find a job in Kansas related to that major. Note: oceanography isn’t a major at PSU, it was only used for the purpose of that example. If your aim is to be part of a marketing team, that would be more easily managed in Kansas.
Tip number five: Research job demand. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation has seen an increased need for licensed medical professionals. Similarly, other professions are expected to increase and decrease in demand over the next several years. This information can be found online but be sure your source is a government website of some sort for the most factual, up-to-date information.
In the end, declaring a major is not an easy decision. There are many factors that should be taken into account when making this decision. Only a few of those factors are listed here. Pittsburg State has counseling and resources available for students who are unsure of what to study. Reach out to your advisor if you find yourself with this problem and they can guide you to these resources.