Tag Archives: college major

Choosing a Major in College

By Janae Bowman

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 enroll@puc.edu to get connected with a counselor now.

It’s Okay to be Undecided

“If you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up by the time you’re 12, you’ll never finish college in time!” said no one ever.

Actually that’s not true – a lot of people have probably said that. Many people, maybe even some of you, think you HAVE to have everything planned out long before you begin your undergraduate career. Well I’m here to tell you, “Pump the brakes!” There’s no need to rush! For those of you who have known what you wanted to do since you were in diapers, awesome! But for those who feel a little lost, welcome to college! You’ll find your way and the Enrollment office at PUC is here to help.

For me, throughout high school I was the girl with the plan – physical therapy, specifically sports medicine. That’s all I wanted to do and I was convinced I would be perfect at it. I took a series of personality and career tests my senior year and discovered something very obvious: I was good at communicating (and something I learned my junior year, not good at Chemistry).

Now, cut to the first day of freshman year at PUC to a newly declared Communication major. I had no idea what I was getting myself into and within the first quarter I apprehensively made the decision to switch to being undeclared and you know what? I wasn’t alone. Research shows up to 50 percent of college students change their major at least once, and some change it several times. For the next year and a half, I made up my mind and changed it quite a few times, all the while smartly taking classes in many areas from different departments. The beauty of PUC being a liberal arts college is you will need to take classes in different subjects to fulfill your GE class requirements (You can read more about those in our recent “What on Earth are General Education Requirements?!” post). This is the perfect way to try something new while learning about your strengths.

As it would turn out, I would find my way back to the Communication Department a couple quarters later and fall in love with Public Relations, and I never would have discovered that had I not been open minded.

If you’re struggling to see where your future is headed, be smarter than I was! Don’t wander through your first year of college without some kind of plan. PUC comes fully equipped with a Career & Counseling Center at your disposal. You’ll have access to multiple personality tests, interest surveys and Laura Gore, our Career Counselor, will happily give you one-on-one career counseling.

While it’s on your mind, why not spend a few minutes taking this short career test to get a few new ideas about what majors might be a good fit for you! We found it surprisingly insightful. Be more informed before scheduling an appointment with Laura in the fall! Check it out at http://www.yourfreecareertest.com/#.