Choosing your college major: how to navigate choices, advisers, finding your path

Choosing a major in college can be a daunting task because there are so many majors to choose from with options like nursing, engineering, science, education and more. Finding a major that fits you best will help you in your pursuit of future careers, and finding one that you will value is possible with the right resources. Emily Vanmiddendorp | Sun News Daily

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If you have many passions and interests, choosing one to major in can be difficult.

Considering how many majors and careers there are in the world, choosing just one to get your degree in may be scary and intimidating because of the fear of the unknown.

Around 36% of females and 30% of males, whose parents earned a graduate degree or higher, were sure of their major choices compared to 51% of females and 45% of males whose parents had no college degree.

This goes to show that the majority of students don’t know what their major will be for a long time. It is not an overnight decision for most people, so here is what you need to know about choosing a major you will love.

Meeting with your adviser

Utah Tech University has many resources available to help students narrow down the choice of choosing their major.

Career Services is a resource that offers many ways for students to connect with the advisers and teachers that they need in order to find out what path they want to take. They also help students find guidance on employment in the careers they have chosen.

Listed on the website, students can narrow down their options with quizzes to find out what major their interests coincide with.

Imogen Barron-Toop, a senior marketing major from Melvin, Australia, said she thinks the struggle with students figuring out their major is that they don’t fully know what all the options are because there are so many out there.

Students usually start the process of deciding on a major by talking to their academic adviser. They will meet with them many times throughout their college journey.

As students progress with their education, most of the time, advisers will encourage them to take courses that interest them while getting the credit for general education classes. 

General education adviser Beverly Clark said: “I tell students when they are in my office, ‘I advise but you decide. I’ll give you my opinion, but I will do whatever you want to do.'”

Knowing when to decide

In the time that students are taking their general education classes, advisers recommend beginning to finalize your decision on choosing a major at around 45 credits. 

Clark said students don’t want to be at 60 credits and still not know a pathway because, at that point, they would just be taking more classes without reasoning behind them.

Clark told a story about a student who said he felt that he was a failure because he had tried multiple paths toward different majors, and he didn’t like any of them. Clark, in turn, said that is exactly what he should be doing because it is giving him a broader idea of what careers and degrees are out in the world.

By trying out different courses to find what he is passionate about, this student ended up finding his major.

Oftentimes, the major takes a while to find. It does not always work out on the first try as roughly 50% to 75% of students in college will change their major.

Picking the right classes

Sarah Witt, a sophomore media studies major from Heber, said: “If I had just been looking at a list of classes, they all would have sounded boring. But once you’re actually able to talk with the professors and the other students that are in those programs, it makes it so much more exciting.”

Socializing with the students who are in your classes can help other students enjoy their classes. This is also helpful in understanding what other majors are offered and if they are worth taking from another student’s perspective.

It’s important to take the time to fully understand the classes that are offered for each major as well as allow yourself time to experience all the opportunities out there.

Don’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t work out because deciding your major is a process. This is a big step for college students. Taking it one step at a time and one class at a time is a good place to start.