College Counseling & Planning      Orleans, MA. (774) 801-2449      Ashland, OR. (541) 488-0919
My daughter Olivia had a clear idea of what she wanted in a college; I wanted to help her manifest...more
--Lorraine Florio, parent of Olivia, Johns Hopkins University, 2013; Angelica, George Washington University, 2015

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HAVE YOU CHOSEN A MAJOR YET? This is a question that students come to dread from college admission representatives and relatives alike. Well relax, relatives may expect you to know, but admissions counselors usually do not. Some of you know exactly what you want to study, or at least think you do. Some have no idea what a 'majorí is, never mind which one to choose. Donít fret, you are just beginning your higher education career and still have time to decide.

Here are a few points to ease your anxiety:

1. Most high school seniors havenít decided on a major. In other words, they do not know what they want to do, or be, when they grow up.
2. Most colleges are fine with ďUndecidedĒ for an answer.
3. Most college students change their major more than once, if not two or three times.
4. Most colleges donít require you to choose your major until the end of your sophomore year.
5. Most colleges allow a student to have a double major and/or a minor. This will allow you to combine interests.
6. Most high school student have taken a curriculum established to satisfy graduation requirements Ė so many English courses, so many math courses, etc. College is a time to taste what else is out there Ė sociology, art history, religion, psychology, African dance and the list goes on.
7. Most colleges have dozens upon dozens of majors from which to choose Ė many of which as a high school student you donít even know exist.
8. Most colleges require students to take a certain number of courses in a prescribed core curriculum. Usually students complete most of these required courses their first two years. Some of these courses can be applied toward your major.
9. Most majors can take up as much as two thirds of your classes, therefore it is important to research your chosen major as well as you can before making a decision. In other words, donít just pick one to say that you have a major.

Here are a few tips for deciding on a major:

1. Think about the courses you have taken that you did well in and also enjoyed. Which assignments did you complete first and which ones did you leave to the very last?
2. Think about the electives you have chosen Ė music, art, AP courses, etc. Do these indicate a strong interest in one area?
3. Think about the people you know (parents, friends, relatives, older siblings, neighbors) in different careers of interest to you and try to shadow someone in those fields.
4. Think about doing some volunteer work or summer work in different work places. Ask yourself if you would want to do this type of work everyday.
5. Talk to students majoring in areas of interest to you.
6. Talk to professors at prospective colleges about majors you are considering.
7. When in college/university be sure to use advisors to help you choose a major.

If all of this hasnít given you some food for thought think about the number of students who change majors too late and end up attending college for a fifth and sometimes sixth year. Add to this the thought of how much more money that is going to cost. It pays to plan ahead and do some research.

Judith Christie
College Planning Consultants