Making the Most of College with an Undecided Major

Ideally, by the time an individual graduates from high school, he already has a plan for his college path. While he may not have decided on a specialty, he at least knows he wants to pursue an education in law, medicine, technology, or some other field for which he has a passion. However, not everyone has reached this decision. Some students are torn between two or three choices and cannot come to a definitive conclusion.

Whether it is because of a mixture of talents in unrelated fields, pressure to follow in someone else’s footsteps or merely the fear of being tied down to a single field, some students begin college without a declared major. Still, a college education can be extremely expensive, not to mention that most undergraduate programs require no less than three years to complete and no one wants to waste time or money. Therefore, some individuals argue that students should wait until they have made a decision before beginning college. However, students who wait too long to go to college often struggle with classes and some, for one reason or another, may not have an opportunity to go at all if they do not enroll immediately after high school graduation.

But, how does a student get the most out of college when he has not decided on a major?
The first step is to compare the programs to which the list has been narrowed down. There are always similarities between programs: Mathematics, English, Humanities, and Science are most likely going to be required regardless of which path a student chooses. Thus, while trying to nail down one particular choice, a student can complete his basic education requirements.

After the first set of courses is underway, a student may want to speak with a campus advisor or career counselor. This is a great way to receive unbiased advice and information to make an informed decision. These professionals can offer job outlook trends, beginning salary estimates, apprenticeship facts, as well as other unique local resources related to the fields or industries under consideration. With help from an advisor or counselor, students may even be able to find professionals in the field who can offer the opportunity to shadow or observe a day on the job.

Putting off going to college until a major is determined is, in a sense, waiting to move forward in life. Putting the future on hold will not prevent it from happening. Moreover, there are vital lessons to be learned and experiences to have in college that can impact life in the future. While the knowledge in college classrooms is important, some of the things that help individuals achieve success later in life stem from life outside of the classroom: time management, independence, self-sufficiency, managing expenses, and learning to respect the different culture and values of others are all things that help in life and in business, regardless of which industry or career path a person chooses to enter and they can be absorbed while a major is decided.


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