What should I major in? That seems like a question which should come long after college acceptance, but the truth is choosing a major should begin in middle school. Isn’t that a bit young? Why so young, you might ask.
There are several reasons for knowing what you are going to major in even before high school.
- A major can shape your experience in college. Will you spend hours in a lab which will affect the kinds of activities you engage in? Will there be apprenticeship programs available for you to practice your skills? Will the kinds of people you like working with, say techno-freaks or bookish sorts, surround you?
- Your major could dictate which colleges you apply to. You will want schools that have a good program in your major, established faculty in your discipline, and a good record of job placement in your field.
- If you choose a career major, you might want to make sure you find the right school that will fit your needs. Some of the heaviest demand for jobs is in the following areas: security, computer tech support, loan officer skills, retail/sales, automotive specialties, and mechanics. Schools that provide such training do not always require four years or may demand very specialized experience, interests, or educational background.
- STEM fields or the science, technology, engineering, and math fields are majors where monies are more often available. Government and industry are promoting these skills so America can be more competitive. If you apply to colleges in these fields, you may have more financial aid.
Your major can affect your college admission
One of the biggest reasons why you should have a good idea of what you will major in when you apply to college is because your choice of major could affect whether or not you will be accepted to a college. Colleges have departments and fields of study. To accept only undecideds would be too much of a guessing game and might jeopardize the success of some departments. Also colleges want a balance of students to fill out their class. Colleges want some liberal arts, some hard science, some education, and business majors. An unbalanced class of majors can affect scheduling and even accreditation. College admissions are well aware of all this when they accept applicants.
College admission offices must weigh four types of applicants in regard to majors:
- Prematurely decided – students who may indicate a certain major but are only following the trends for best paying jobs or who are reflecting their parents’ interests. These students will change majors or will need extra mentoring and support to stay in their major.
- Maturely undecided – students who are undecided but who have legitimate interests they want to explore. They are focused in on a couple or three choices and will end up in one.
- Profoundly undecided – students who have no clue.
- Maturely decided – students who know what they want; who may actually need a four-year, at least a three-year, plan; and who will stay in their majors.
No college will take all students of any one of the above categories. Your college admission may depend on which category they have or have not filled when they come to your application.
Where do you fit into these categories? Have you exposed yourself to different careers? Do you have a variety of interests or talents? You should weigh these questions to know how you can best position yourself for college admission.