The Major Decision: What Should You Study

Wiener Douyon, CollegeFindMe Intern

What’s a major?

The question that any senior could ponder for hours is a simple one: “What do you want to major in?” Your major, or academic concentration, is a set of courses around a subject that you’ll eventually get a degree in. However, this will in no way cement your future. Besides, who knows what they will focus on for the rest of their lives? Just like how you are always changing and growing, so are your interests and passions.

So, instead of agonizing over a decision that may change in a couple of weeks, focus on what you are passionate about now. This guide will help you figure out how to choose your major. Let’s begin!

Redefining majors

In many ways, choosing a major is almost as hard as finding the best-fit college. That’s because deciding on a major is linked with finding your purpose. It’s very rare that someone figures out their purpose by senior year of high school.  So let’s redefine what a major is. Instead of treating it like our destinies, let’s say that it is your field of interest. Some interests may include Astrophysics, Art History, Electrical Engineering, or Dance!  

Choosing a major

By believing that majors are basically areas of interest, all you have to do is to find what you like to do. Here are some questions to help you find out what you’re looking for in a major:

  • Atmosphere
    • Do you enjoy working in a team? Are you the most efficient and determined working alone? It helps to understand how you function and which type of environment you would thrive in. Choose a major that suits your working style. A business major needs to be prepared to work in groups, while a computer scientist might have more alone time.
  • Office Type
    • Do you want to work at a desk? Outside? In a studio? At home? Different majors tend to lead to different types of workplaces, so ask yourself where you picture your future job taking place. If that seems too far in the future, think about where you like to study!
  • Job Availability
    • You want to make sure that your major will help you get jobs that are available. For example, the tech industry is booming right now, while railroad engineering is a bit less in demand. While your first priority should be pursuing your passions, it helps to consider the job market now and in the future.
  • Salary
    • You may feel pressured to pursue a major that promises a high salary. Remember, your happiness is important too. A big paycheck isn’t the same thing as finding fulfillment. Always follow your heart, even if the money isn’t there at first.
  • Courses
    • Finally, take a look at the courses required and offered by any given major. You may think you want to be a film major, but it turns out you don’t like any of the film courses taught at your school. Look for a major that gets you excited, not just one that seems like it’ll be a good investment for the future. 

Final note

What you major in does not determine your future. Finding a job is about pursuing your passions and offering valuable skills, not just checking boxes. Even once you’ve decided on a major, keep trying new things! Whether through electives, clubs, internships, or independent research, you can absolutely chase multiple passions at once. This will help you become a more well-rounded individual with a unique set of skills to offer any employer. At the end of the day, your enthusiasm and passion are much more valuable than a transcript, so look for a major that feels right to you!

If you’d like to hear from some current college students why they chose their major, check out this video!

Back to School Blues

Emily Sun ‘21, Boston Latin School

I stretch my arms and lean back in my beach chair. The sun is still shining brightly in the sky, and I can smell the slightly salty scent of crashing waves. I love summer!

As much as I’ve enjoyed my share of beaches, an entire month has already passed and now it’s August. To me, August means… school starts in a month! I bet many of you aren’t the most excited at the thought of going back to school. Me neither! After all, what’s waiting are nights of grinding away at homework and stressing over tests — even college app deadlines if you’re a senior. 

However, going back to school also means seeing friends and either playing sports or joining after-school club meetings. It was fun having tons of free time, and snacking whenever I wanted, but inevitably school is looming ahead. 

As I think about the good and the bad of returning to school, I have some suggestions for how you can make the best of your August before school starts.

Finish your summer homework

That might mean summer math packets, or books on a summer reading list, but either way you will need to complete it. I’m trying to spend an hour 2-3 days a week getting it out of the way so I’m not staying up late the night before school starts to finish everything.

Prepare yourself mentally and physically

  • Mentally: Each year of high school becomes more important and the courses get harder. Similar to finishing my summer homework, I’m also reviewing some of the notes I took in class last year. I’ll be taking AP classes this year, so revisiting some concepts that weren’t easy will help build my confidence. I’ll also know where to ask for extra help from teachers once school starts. Getting back into concentrating and homework mode is not fun, but I did this last year and it made starting sophomore year much easier. 
  • Physically: Since I’m free from getting up early for school I go to bed VERY late and therefore wake up VERY late. My summer sleep schedule has been quite… wacky. To avoid being overtired during the first few days of classes, I try to adjust my schedule the week prior to school so waking up at way-too-early-in-the-morning for school isn’t so painful. And now that I’ve finished binge-watching Black Mirror, I can get to bed at a decent hour too. 

Keep in touch 

Summertime is a great time to establish personal connections at jobs, internships, or summer school while exploring your interests or passions. I’m interning at CollegeFindMe, and I plan to keep in touch with my manager so if I need advice, a reference on my resume, or a recommendation letter for college, I’ll have someone other than a teacher or coach to help me.

Enjoy the rest of your summer! 

Even as you prepare yourself for school, summer is still a time for you to have fun. Catch up with your friends, see a good movie or enjoy being outside – whatever makes you happy! Good luck everyone!