7 Things You Should Definitely Consider Before You Declare a College Major

Declaring a college major is a tricky business.

Before you've even entered adulthood, you essentially have to pick what you want to do for the rest of your life. Um, excuse me? How are you supposed to make a decision like that when you're not even sure what you want for dinner?

If college decisions have you stressed out, we're here to help. Keep scrolling for seven things you should definitely consider before you declare a major.

Your Career Goals

Your college major is the very first step you take towards pursuing your overall career path. It sounds like a no-brainer, but we have to stress the fact that you need to think about where you want to end up. What do you want to do for the rest of your life? Do you have a career plan you're passionate about? Or are you still trying to figure things out? Whatever the answer to these questions may be, planning far into the future will help you choose a major that pushes you down the path towards your ultimate dreams. Otherwise, you're just wasting your time.

Zoe Johnson in a College Class

(Grown-ish via Freeform)

 

Your Interests

Your college major pretty much determines what you're going to be focusing your time and energy on for the next four years, and potentially for the rest of your life. Obviously, you should take your interests into account. Unlike high school, college is a chance to devote your educational energy to something you care about. What excites you? What are you interested in learning more about? Once you ask yourself those questions, you'll be in a much better position to declare a major that you'll be passionate about pursuing.

 

Potential Salaries

Although we always recommend pursuing something you're passionate about, you should think about how much money you want to make before declaring a major. If money is of the utmost importance to you, you have to take that into account. Knowing the median salary for one job versus another might be the one thing that sways your ultimate decision. Take some time to research salaries, but remember that no job will ever be worth the money if you're doing something that makes you miserable.

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(Jessie via Disney Channel)

 

General or Specific

Many college majors are pretty general in their area of studying. Majors like Communications, Sociology or English have a wide variety of topics to cover and an extensive network of jobs available to those degrees. Other majors are pretty specific. Biology or Chemistry, for example, are a pretty straight path that lead you right into the science field. Before you declare a major, you should think about how certain you are in your career goals. If you know exactly what you want to do, opt for something very specific. If you're still figuring things out, a more general major will give you the leeway you need to explore multiple options.

 

The Work Load

Some majors are much more labor-intensive than others. If you struggle to stay on top of your school work, it's completely okay to veer towards a major that's a little easier. There's no sense in committing to a major you can't keep up with. Take into account your own study skills and the workload you want to take on, and choose your major accordingly.

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(Spongebob Squarepants via Nickelodeon)

 

Benefits

Declaring a major has some benefits, but it's also completely fine to go into college Undecided. If you have no idea what you want to do, declaring a major won't really help you with anything. Deciding on a major right at the start only makes sense if you're comfortable committing to a general area of study. If you don't have that direction yet, you'll benefit much more from entering as an Undecided student. You give yourself more time to decide on a career path, and you don't have to go through the annoying process of changing your major down the line.

 

You Can Change

Speaking of changing your majors, keep in mind that it is an option. Declaring a major can be really scary. In the moment, it feels like you're deciding on what you have to do for the rest of your life, without having any experience to base your choice on. However, you can always adjust your plans as you learn more about yourself and your interests. Don't feel like you have to stick with your original major, simply because you're already enrolled in that program. If your major doesn't make you happy—change it! And keep in mind that you can, so whatever decision you make right now doesn't have to be binding.

 

Looking for more college tips? Click HERE for our advice on how to be bold and brilliant when writing your college essay.