Forté Foundation
Career Lab Virtual Campus

Major Decisions: Picking a College Major

By Jordan Perras

October 14, 2015

One of the most stressful (and ongoing) decisions you’ll make in college is choosing your major. It seems like a huge choice – what if you pick the wrong major? What if you hate your classes?

The reality is that there is no wrong decision. If you’re following your strengths, passions and the advice of the people who love you, you won’t make a bad choice. You will grow, explore and learn more about yourself and the world no matter what your major is. However, there are some major (pun intended) factors to consider.

What are your passions and hobbies?

If you love art history, but you’re only majoring in accounting because you think it will be easy to get a job, you’re going to be disappointed. When you have a free hour, how do you fill it?

What was your favorite subject in high school?

If you got to class early for Calculus everyday, why not consider majoring in Math? You can tie it into graphic design, business, economics, or political science; the opportunities are endless.

Even if you double major or minor in your favorite subject, it gives you a solid base of something that you already know you enjoy!

What can you talk about for hours?

Ask your family and friends what topics they always hear you bring up in conversation. Maybe you talked your mom’s ear off about your bio class, but you hated the teacher. In college, you won’t have Mr. Smith, but the cell cycle will still be there.

When you look at “Careers for _______ Majors,” do you find the options exciting?

This is probably the most important factor to consider. It’s sometimes easy to forget that you are choosing a major to help you prepare for a future career. Want to work at an embassy? Love working with kids? Looking to work at an investment bank?

Evaluate your long-term goals and see what majors feed into those careers.

When you look at the course catalog, do the classes sound interesting or boring?

Sometimes you can be passionate about a subject and still think the classes sound like a snooze fest.

I love history – reading about it, going to museums, the works. However, when I looked at the course catalog and saw that I would be required to take classes about medieval history or women’s rights from 1750-1990, I knew that being a history major wasn’t for me.

Once you’ve made a decision, try not to treat it like it is permanent. At most schools, you have until the end of your sophomore year to declare a major. Take classes that sound interesting, explore different electives or try out an internship.

Don’t be afraid to change your mind. College is a time to grow and explore, so make sure you do just that.

Jordan Perras is a third-year student at Northeastern University majoring in Math and Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and a minor in Economics.  She has a wide variety of interests that include history, art and literature and plans to pursue an MBA after college. She is especially interested in the role of social entrepreneurship in sustainable business.

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