The College Journey: Deciding on a Major

Going to college is one of the biggest events you will experience in life. At the heart of this journey is your major, which is the foundation of your college education.  

While your choice of college is important, the major you pick is your road map to your future goals. Through a series of core classes and electives, you will gain the knowledge and skills to specialize in that particular field. Your major will challenge you to think critically about the world and inspire you to bring about the changes you wish to see in society.  

But what goes into deciding on a major? I myself had a difficult time making this decision when I went through this process and I suspect many of you might be as well. Whether you’re attending Plymouth State or another institution, here are some helpful tools as you embark on your educational journey.  

Know your options 

There are hundreds of majors out there, so which one is best suited for you? One of the first things you should think about is what do you like, and what are your strengths. Do you enjoy learning about math or you artistic—or both? Do you want to pursue something you’re passionate about, or do you want to learn something new? Playing to your strengths and interests can help make this decision easier. Talk to your school counselor and family about what interests you, and they can help you narrow down your options. Do some outside research into colleges that offer majors you are interested in.  

Pair your major with a minor 

While your main focus of study may be in a particular area, what if you want to learn something in addition to that? Why not pick a minor! It’s a great way to complement your major. A minor may be in a related field, or it can be something completely different and will allow you to explore other subjects without having to change your major. Most colleges offer several different minors to pick from, some even with options to be certified in a particular skill.  

Go undecided  

Not sure what you want to do? No problem! Whether you’re 18 or 38, trying to figure out what you want to study can be tough. Come in as an undecided student and make your decision afterward. This allows you to take an array of different courses and based on those experiences you can decide from there. Plymouth State University, for instance, allows students to take until their sophomore year to declare a major. Working with your academic advisor can help you narrow down what you want to focus on.   

Create your own major 

What if you absolutely can’t decide and want to combine different areas together? Another option is creating your own major. At Plymouth State, we offer a major called interdisciplinary studies that allows students to tailor their own major around the subjects they like. This is a great opportunity for students who want to take more ownership of their education. Have more questions about this option? Contact our admissions office and we can provide you more information!  

Still not sure?  

If you’re still unsure, that’s ok! Contact the colleges you’re interested in and speak to an admissions counselor, like myself. Your admissions counselor is your go-to person for helpful information. You can speak to them about the different majors, and they can get you in touch with faculty who have years of experience in their fields and can give you great insights.  

Picking a major is part of the first step in the college journey. As you navigate this process, take advantage of all of the resources around you. The path toward college may be different for everyone, so do some research and take advantage of help from friendly and knowledgeable admissions counselors.

Alex Boudreau is assistant director of admissions at Plymouth State University, where he works with incoming students from Vermont and parts of Massachusetts. He is a proud Panther from the Class of 2016 with a bachelor of arts degree in interdisciplinary studies. Alex has been working in Plymouth State’s Admissions Office since graduation and is currently working on his master’s in leadership. He resides in the beautiful Lakes Region community of Laconia, NH.