Many college students graduate with a degree that they initially weren’t majoring in when beginning college. Switching majors is common for students to do because as you grow into adulthood, your interests and passions change. Here’s how to know if you’re pursuing the right major.
Know Why You Chose Your Major
Clearly know why you chose your major. Are you sincerely passionate about it and want to make a living from it? Did you choose it for yourself or to please others? Knowing why you chose your major will give you that boost of motivation during those long nights of studying and when you feel stressed. If you need to, write down the reasons why you picked that major.
Picture Your Future
Picture your future- what do you see? Do you see yourself happy working the career you chose? If you do, fantastic! If you don’t, think about changing course and heading down another career path. Ask yourself what type of job you’d be good at and would enjoy doing every day. That’ll help you figure out what to major in.
Think of Your Interests & Skills
Thinking about your interests and skills helps figure out what your strengths are and what career you can make out of them. A work environment that fits your skills, interests, and personality will allow you to feel fulfillment in your career and grant you more success.
It’s completely okay to be confused about what you want to study or whether or not you chose the right major. We understand that this process can be tough, which is why PUC has various programs for you to choose from. Your options and opportunities are endless here.
If you’re one of those students who has known what they wanted to be when they grew up since they were young, this blog is not for you! Please move on and enjoy a few minutes scrolling through social media. For the rest of you, we completely understand that choosing a major can be really difficult. Not everyone has their futures all figured out. Declaring a major is a really important step on your academic journey so for that reason alone, don’t rush!
People Switch Majors All The Time
Did you know the National Center for Education Statistics says about 80 percent of students in the U.S. end up changing their major at least once and on average, college students change their major at least three times over the course of their college career? This shows you’re in great company!
It’s Ok To Be Picky
College is a time for personal growth which means you might change your mind. As seen above, that’s totally normal. Changing your mind or being picky about what path you want to take doesn’t make you flighty or indecisive, it means you want to make the best choice for yourself. The great thing about attending a liberal arts college like PUC is you have plenty of options to choose from. And while you dabble in various programs, you’ll earn your general education credits!
If you find yourself struggling, reach out to your advisor, a professor, or make an appointment with the Career & Counseling Center.
You Have Time
Don’t let other people or even your own expectations pressure you into making a decision you’ll regret. You don’t have to rush and you do have time. Be patient with yourself and trust you’ll figure out which career path is for you. And remember, have a great time because college is also supposed to be fun!
If you don’t know where to start, check out our blog on how to choose a major.
Choosing a major can be difficult. If you’re not sure what you want to study just yet, don’t panic. It’s normal for students to start college without knowing what they want to major in or what career path they want to take. Here are some things to think about and do while you choose.
Take Career Tests
If you aren’t sure yet what you want to major in, take a career test. There are many free online tests available where you can find out your career path. Also at liberal arts schools, such as PUC, you can use your General Education credits to test different departments to see which one fits for you.
The PUC Career & Counseling Center is also available to help you clarify your interests, strengths, and values as well as provide valuable information about various majors and career options. If you have questions about your options or don’t know what to major in, make an appointment to talk with our counselor, and begin your career exploration process.
Know Your Interests
Your interests are important to think about when you’re choosing a major. If you don’t like what you’re studying, you’re going to be miserable. You won’t find your classes interesting, which can lack your motivation to study. It’s essential you are actually interested in what you’re studying.
Know Your Abilities
Think about what you’re good at when choosing a major. If you’re stronger in math and science, think of majors that circle around those subjects. If you’re stronger in English and the arts, consider the majors in those departments. Don’t choose a major with classes you will struggle in. You should be confident you will be able to do well in your work in the area of your study.
Know Your Goals
You might have specific goals you want to achieve, like becoming a teacher or doctor. Once you have a general goal in mind, that will help lead you into a major that fits with your goals.
After knowing your interests, skills, and goals, you should start researching jobs that align with them. Find out what types of jobs there are for your career and what classes you need to take for them. This should help you narrow down your options so you can start thinking about jobs that intrigue you and what majors could help you get those jobs.
Talk To Others
If you know people that work in the fields you might be interested in, talk to them and get their perspective on their job and what that career path entails. Talk to your academic adviser and share your interests. Their job is to help you find your right career path and connect you with professors that teach in your desired department.
Trying to decide what path to take towards your future can be overwhelming. If you really don’t know what you want to major in, that’s okay! Make the most of fulfilling your college credits by taking a variety of classes to see which ones interest you. Talk to other students and your professors and of course, praying about it!
Picking a college major can be a bit stressful. As an enrollment counselor, the number one question I get asked is, “Am I stuck with this major?” Don’t worry! Picking a major doesn’t lock you into an exact career for the rest of your life, but it does mean you will spend a lot of time with the subject you choose. So here are a few of my tips before you make a decision.
What is a major?
First off, what is a major? A major is a bundle of classes put together by a college in order to receive a degree. This bundle of classes will typically have a subject of your choice paired with some general education requirements.
Is picking a major important?
It can be important to pick a major sooner rather than later if you are interested in earning a professional degree after college. Some professional programs, like medical school, can have a list of prerequisites or certain courses you must complete before you even apply. (If you’re interested, take a look at the curriculum guidesheets for each major to see what classes are required and if there are any prerequisites for continuing on to a professional program.)
When to declare a major?
Most people think you must have your major picked out before starting school. When you are filling out college applications, most ask what your expected major is. It is okay if you don’t know what major you want to pick before you start. According to the U.S Department of Education, about one in ten students change majors more than once. During your first year of college, take time and figure out the field you want to be in. Usually, by your sophomore year in college, you will want to officially declare a major.
Most important tips for picking a major:
Pick something you are interested in. You will be spending a lot of time in that field. So if you dislike what you are studying, you will be miserable and won’t be very motivated to finish.
Evaluate your skills. What are you good at? It’s probably not the best idea to major in something you know you are weak in. If you’ve barely passed science classes during high school, majoring in a science is probably not the best decision. Go into a major being confident you will do well with most of the topics.
Consider growth industries and do your research. Think about the skills you will have and how much those skills will be in demand by the time you are in the field.
Look at what types of income you can receive from different jobs in your field. It’s hard to predict exactly what you will earn but it can give you a realistic idea of what your future may look like.
Talk to people who are in the fields you are interested in. Ask them how they got there and tips they might have for students going into the field. It may open your mind and help you in making that major decision. They may even be open to you allowing you to shadow them and get a real glimpse into what the field is like.
Overall, don’t worry if you have no idea what to do when it comes to picking a major. You will be able to evaluate your interest in college, it just may take some time. Sometimes if you don’t pick a major, a major will pick you!
If you’re in need of some ideas for what your options are when it comes to deciding what to study at PUC, don’t hesitate to contact our team of enrollment counselors. They can talk with you about what’s available at PUC and what sounds like could be a good fit for you. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get connected with a counselor now.
So you’ve graduated high school. Check. You’ve moved into your college dorm room. Check. You know exactly what you want to study…or not? College can be overwhelming for students trying to narrow down what major they want to study – after all, the rest of your life and career rests on these decisions. What happens when you can’t just chose one major? What if you want to major in more than one thing? No problem. PUC is the place to double major!
Whether you simply have two different areas of study you want to examine more, or you want to pair up two majors that work well together for a professional career – or even graduate school – PUC gives you the opportunity and resources you need to successfully double major. As a double major myself, studying English with an Emphasis in Writing and History with a European History Emphasis, here are a five tips for anyone considering double majoring:
1. Take Advantage of PUC’s Quarter System
Unlike in a semester system school, it’s relatively easy to graduate in four years with a double major. Why is this? Typically, each semester or quarter, the average student will take around 15-17 credits. That means with a semester school, you can take up to 34 credits a school year – but in a quarter system, up to 51 credits. More credits means you can take more classes you need in order to graduate on time. The key is to take advantage of this system. Some students take the bare minimum number of credits each quarter to be considered a full time student (12 credits) and as a result, it takes them longer to graduate and it’s practically impossible to double major. I suggest taking at least 15 credits per quarter to stay on track.
2. Manage Your Time Well
You’ve probably heard this before: “In college, you have three options: sleep, school, and friends. You can only choose two.” Where you put your energy is where you will succeed in those various aspects of life. College can be a tough transition for the average high school student because it requires you to put in a lot more hours of studying for your classes. This doesn’t mean you can’t balance this stress out though. Make sure to find time for yourself too – you don’t want to get burned out!
Over time, you will gradually become accustomed to higher levels of stress. Try and space out some of your harder classes with some easier general education classes. If possible, instead of having your first two years comprised entirely of GE classes, mix it up with some major classes so by your senior year, you won’t be overwhelmed with entirely upper division classes. Work with your advisor as well so you know exactly what classes to take and when.
3. Get Involved With Your Departments
This doesn’t mean you have to join a club or an honors society (though those are great things to get involved with!), but make sure you get to know your advisors and students within your major – they will become the support group you need to survive difficult classes.
The professors at PUC take the time to learn your name and get to know you. Part of the benefit of attending here are the small class sizes, which make it easier for professors to form personal relationships with students than it is at larger public schools. Most departments have pre-vespers several times a year, when a professor opens up their home for students to visit, worship, and have delicious food. Making an effort to go to events like these will help you become familiar with people in your department. And who knows – maybe your department will become your second family!
4. Choose Subjects You Love
I’ve talked with countless seniors over the years who wished they majored in something they liked. Don’t wait until it’s too late – pick something now you like and you won’t regret it. Never choose a career only for the money; you will eventually end up hating it. By choosing a subject you have a genuine interest and passion in, you will enjoy going to class and studying. Then when you apply for jobs in a field you’re interested in, listing two degrees instead of one on your resume shows you’re dedicated and knowledgeable. It will also set you apart from the other applicants, which is always a good thing.
5. Be Prepared
Know what you are getting into with a double major. Most majors require you complete a senior thesis – two majors means two theses. Is that impossible? Not at all! If you put your mind to it, you will be able to. Students do it all the time. However, you will have to put more dedication and time into your studies than your friends, and if you end up taking an extra year to graduate, that’s another year you have to pay for. Double majoring is easier than people think, but it also doesn’t mean your time here will be a breeze. College is hard whether you’re taking one major or two. Both are going to require hard work and discipline!
As I am coming to the end of my college experience, I must say I truly enjoyed my time at PUC as a double major. It was definitely worth the extra effort and provided a nice challenge for me in my college life. I recommend doing a double major for anyone that is interested! You won’t regret it.
Editor’s note: If you’re thinking about double majoring, you should also consider taking summer classes to help lighten your course load during the regular school year! Classes at PUC during the summer are 50% off too. Learn more by reading our blog post “Why You Should Take a Summer Class at PUC.”