College can be tricky. There are a lot of decisions to make when you first get to campus and picking out your major is one of the most important. So what exactly is a major? A college major is a group of specific courses that you need in order to earn your degree. They are all the classes designed to specifically train and prepare you for a future career. That doesn’t mean you can only take classes set aside for your chosen major. Biology students can always let out their inner artist with few drama classes just like Modern Dance students can experiment with a chemistry elective.
So now that you know what a major is, when do you have to choose one? Most four-year students will have already picked out their major during the start of freshmen year, but you’re not typically required to do so until you become a sophomore. That way, you can spend the first few semesters learning what your strengths are, figuring out your goals, and finding a degree program that you’re truly passionate about. Once you’ve decided, you might have to set up a meeting with either a counselor or faculty member to fill out paperwork, plan out your next semester, or just learn more about your department of choice.
Choosing a major doesn’t mean you have to stick to one specific career path, either. Unlike learning a trade, earning your degree can help prepare you for a wide range of options. English literature students don’t have to stick to writing novels after graduation. Their major will have prepared them for a teaching position or even a role at a public relations firm. It’s important to think about where you want to be after college and finding a program that can help make you a unique asset to that field.
One more thing to consider before choosing your major is the course catalogue. The same programs are often called by different names at different universities so it’s important to know exactly which courses are offered. Sports Medicine & Kinesiology are the same field of study, but go by different names.
Choosing a major is a big part of the college experience, and it should be fun and not stressful. Work with a guidance counselor or speak with career services to help you pick out the right one.
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