Supporting Students to Explore Majors and Choose One

UniversityParent Staff

Many students find themselves torn in the process of deciding a college major. On the one hand, they can choose to go with the field that they are most passionate about while, on the other, they have the option of picking a vocation that is in demand. It can be a tough decision to make but, fortunately, it isn’t one that must be made right away. The first year or two of college can be spent experimenting, taking a wide variety of classes, and figuring out exactly where the student’s interests lie.

Taking a Wide Variety of Classes

Many colleges encourage this kind of academic curiosity, making it mandatory for students to take a class or two in a variety of disciplines. In the student’s first year, she may end up taking classes as diverse as Cultural Anthropology 101, Psychology 101, The Modern American Novel, Chemistry in the Kitchen and Ancient Greek Philosophy. They may not have been too enthusiastic about certain subjects before, but studying them at the college level can change all that.  Don’t be surprised if your student comes home with a newfound passion for Plato or Jane Austen. Such discoveries are to be expected in the course of deciding a college major.

Aptitude Assessment

Once the student has sampled as many pies as possible, it’s best to make a decision. Halfway through sophomore year, the student should have some direction. However, if she is still undecided, you can try suggesting an assessment test with a school counselor to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses. Most likely, this will reinforce what the student already knows and point him in the right direction.

Talking It Out

It’s important to support students to as they explore majors and choose one, to make them understand that this doesn’t have to be a harrowing experience. The process can be an enjoyable one. Let your students know that they’re not alone; they can talk it out with parents, professors, counselors, and fellow students. Many colleges host career fairs where they can meet people that work in various fields. Even if students end up choosing a major that they were always interested in, doing some research before committing themselves will move them one step further towards broadening their minds and becoming well-rounded individuals.

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