How do I choose a major in college when I don't know what I'm interested in?

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Answered by: Mary, An Expert in the College Matters Category
It can be difficult to choose a major when you first enter college. Whether you're right out of high school or a non-traditional student, your career path is probably unclear as you enter higher education. There are several ways you can begin exploring possible majors.

A good place to start is with a career or academic counselor. Make an appointment with your school's career or academic advisement center. A counselor is trained to help you through the process of major exploration. He or she can administer personality and aptitude inventories that will help you learn more about yourself and to choose a major. These inventories are not tests. There are no wrong answers. The results will give you a place to start when considering what you want to study.

You may also want to take some classes in subjects that interest you or that may be a potential career choice. Your academic adviser can help you to choose courses that will fit in to your general education requirements. For example, if you'd like to learn more about a career in business, taking an Introduction to Business course would be a good idea. This kind of a class provides a general overview of the subject matter and will likely count toward graduation credit requirements. You may not wish to take an abundance of classes as a means of exploration, as taking too many courses that don't count toward your graduation requirements could cost you time and money.

You don't have to choose a major right away. Exploring is good. Students change their major an average of two or three times over their college career, and that's okay. What you want to avoid doing is exploring aimlessly on your own. Simply taking class after class until you find something you like is likely to end in frustration, and will ensure you spend at least an additional semester or two in school while working toward your degree.

Another good option for learning more about a particular major is to job shadow or volunteer. Job shadowing involves spending time with a professional in your field of interest and following them throughout their day in order to learn about what they do. Your career counselor can usually help you to find willing professionals or you find an opportunity on your own by approaching family friends or local companies. Volunteering is another great way to learn if a career is right for you. Securing a volunteer position also looks favorable on a resume and can help you in a competitive job market.

There are lots of ways to choose a major that's right for you. They key is to seek help and not to go it on your own. Getting help from a qualified counselor or adviser will ensure that you don't spend needless time, money or frustration aimlessly exploring areas of interest. Take proactive measures to learn about various majors and whether they may be a good fit for you. You won't regret investing the time.

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