How Do I Choose a College Major?

A common question college students often ask is, “how do I choose my major?” Choosing a major can be tough. Some students have known what they wanted to be since they were 5 years old, while others find themselves torn between the variety of programs offered at college. It’s important to remember that choosing a major doesn’t mean you need to have everything already figured out.

We spoke to Jessica Brandt, senior career specialist in Bethel’s Office of Career Development and Calling, to hear how she advises students who are unsure about what major to pursue in college.

Brandt says that there are typically three groups of students she has advised.

The first group are students who already have a major in mind but want to know what they can do after graduation. The second group are students who have a general idea of what they want to do as a career, but are unsure which major will get them to the finish line. The final group are students who are still discovering their calling and identifying their direction in life.

Wherever you are in the decision process, here are four helpful tips and resources in choosing a major at college

1. Take a personality assessment

Personality assessments are great for students who are in the exploratory phase of their lives.  The Strong Interest Inventory is an affordable assessment that helps students learn more about their personality, and what kinds of occupations they may be well-suited for. Bethel students can schedule a one-on-one debrief session with a career specialist to talk through their results.

2. Explore your college’s academic catalog

Take time to explore the different departments and programs offered on your college’s website. At Bethel, each major has its own webpage that offers in-depth descriptions of what is covered in the program and where graduates from the program have ended up.

3. Explore areas of interest in other majors

It is natural for students to question their decision of major from time to time. It is likely that you are not going to enjoy each and every class during your time at college. You can always sign up for an introductory course, participate in extra co-curricular activity, or add a second major or a minor in a similar field of interest. This will help provide clarity about whether switching majors is actually something you really want to do.

4. Speak to an advisor, mentor, or friend

Other people can often see our strengths and gifting better than ourselves. Ask a friend or leader about what they see in you. Process some of your questions about choosing a major with them and try to get to the heart of the matter.

The Office of Career Development and Calling supports students and alumni of Bethel University in their career development. Discover how you can use your gifts to serve others, live out your calling, and make a positive impact in your community and workplace. Schedule an appointment with a career specialist through Handshake.