Choosing a Major

Original Content Created by Heather R. Houlton (heather dot houlton at gmail dot com)

If you are an undergraduate student and feel lost about what to choose for a major, this guide may help you!

You may be asking yourself:

  • "How do I choose a major?"
  • "I'm really interested in exploring (insert your favorite topic), but I don't know what classes I should take."
  • "I feel really lost and overwhelmed. I'd love to get advice on what I should be doing and how to keep up with all my coursework, but I don't know where to go." 
  • "I'm finishing up my last courses at the local community college this semester. Am I ready to transfer to a 4-year institution? How do I even do that?" 

Concerns like these (and SO many others) are very common. This is especially true for first generation college students. If you have experienced concerns about navigating the academic system, you are certainly not alone.

You may start by asking yourself some of these questions. Are you able to answer any of them easily? 

  • What is important to me in terms of my education? What do I want to get out of going to college?
  • What topics interest me the most? What topics am I willing to work hard at to build important skills in order to succeed? 
  • What are job prospects? Am I able to study a subject that builds critical skills for a wide range of employment opportunities?
  • What will be the cost of my education? Are financial aid opportunities available to me?

If you're feeling lost, there are a lot of resources out there to help guide you, like:

  1. Campus Career Center - nearly every institution has a free student career center. They're easy to use too! Just search online for your institution's career center and make an appointment. They usually ask you questions about why you would like to meet. If you can be as specific as possible, then that will help them be able to guide you during the meeting. 
  2. Browse Degree Programs - Your institution will have a website where you can search all the different types of degree programs that they offer. You can usually find this search feature from the main landing page of the institution. When you're browsing all the different options, you may want to explore by interest, department, or if you're at a university, the college or school (such as the College of Arts and Sciences, or the College of Engineering). The University of Colorado has a helpful search feature that anyone can use to help them identify what they'd like to study. This resource from The College Board might help bring you some clarity too!  
  3. Talk to your favorite teacher/professor - If you really don't know where to start, sometimes the best thing to do is to go to a mentor and talk it out. You'd be surprised what clarity you can find just by having a 20-minute conversation with someone you trust and who has the knowledge to connect the dots with you.