How to Select a Field to Study

A college major will determine the ultimate path a student's college career will take. As general required courses are completed, students will move on to a curriculum track that is defined by the major they have chosen. While some students enter college with an undeclared major, nearly all will have some idea of what they ultimately wish to study. But choosing a major is not always easy, and the decision requires serious thought and consideration. Your college major will define your educational experience, and your professional career path, so it is important to give it due consideration.

Let's spend some time talking about how to choose your major, and about when you should make that decision.

What Subjects Are You Interested In?

When considering your college major, think about the subjects, and fields of study, in which you are interested. What were your favorite courses in high school? In what subjects did you excel? This will help you focus in on the areas of study that appeal to you, and in which you will primed for collegiate success. It may help to prepare a list of the subjects and topics that interest you, and compare it with your university's course catalog to see what study paths are open to you.

What is the Subject Like?

As you begin to list the topics that interest you, consider taking some introductory courses. This is a good way to familiarize yourself with the subject, and to decide if you have an interest in pursuing it through college and into a professional career. Introductory courses are the perfect opportunity to explore any majors you may be considering, and to decide if they are right for you. Many students explore different disciplines and career paths before settling on their major of choice.

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What Will the Study Program Involve?

Once you have sampled some college level courses, and have chosen the field that interests you, it is time to consider what choosing it as a major will involve. Visit the department in which your major is located, and pick up course planners and other information that will outline your major's requirements. This information will tell you what classes you will need to take, the depth of your course study, and the exams you will need to complete in order to graduate. Meet with the head of the department, and your college adviser, to discuss your preliminary decisions.

Before you settle on a choice of major, consider whether or not you are going to enjoy the coursework. While no major is perfect, and no student enjoys every aspect of their studies, your chances of success increase greatly when you are working in a field that engages and excites you.

What Career Opportunities Will it Provide?

When choosing your college major, you will need to consider your ultimate career goals and how your major will shape your professional life after graduation. What are the typical careers people enter into after majoring in your chosen subject? Will you need additional schooling before taking your place in the professional workforce? Answering these questions will help you select a major that best suits your personal career goals.

When Do I Need to Decide?

Some students will have decided on their major before they have even entered college. If you have chosen your field of study, and know your ultimate career path, you are already a few steps ahead of your college fellows. However, many students begin college unsure of their ultimate major, and it is not unusual for students to spend the first year or more of college investigating subjects that interest them. College is, after all, a time of growth and discovery. Many students will find their interests changed and shaped by the first few semesters of school, and will not choose their major until later in their college career. That being said, by the time you enter your third year of college you should have come to a decision regard your major. It is in the third year of college that you will begin taking upper level courses that will be, almost exclusively, defined by your declared college major.