how i picked my major

how i chose my major

Choosing a major is one of the most nerve-wracking things as an 18 year old, alongside choosing which college to go to. All throughout high school, I tried to figure out what I was good at and what skills I could bring to the table in the career world that I was also passionate about doing as a job. It’s not easy, I can tell you that. I hope that by telling my side of the story, prospective college students can have an easier time selecting a major when the time comes!

I went to a pretty competitive high school, where almost everyone takes at LEAST one International Baccalaureate (or IB) course. For me, I was taking 5-6 IB courses a year for junior and senior year, totaling to about 13 IB courses by the end of senior year. If you didn’t know, a lot of the IB courses are STEM based, and they are split into Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL) courses, allowing students to take a lot of STEM courses.

Basically, if you wanted to be competitive at my school, you took as many STEM IB courses as you could – physics, chem, bio, maths – to get a higher weighted GPA and to get ranked higher in your class. That’s exactly what I did. I had wanted to be an optometrist for a long time, but after taking those IB courses, I learned that STEM just wasn’t for me. I regret taking so many STEM classes in high school when I didn’t end up pursuing it, but I think the most important thing is that you learn what you love by taking classes.

So what major did I apply for during college application season? I was really into book blogging at the time and highly considered applying for English and even looked into a publishing major (I’m looking at you with wistful eyes, Emerson College!), but alas, growing up in an Asian household means that I didn’t get to choose to apply for any humanities-based majors. I was disappointed about that fact, but I wasn’t lost quite yet; there were still other options. That’s when my parents suggested Business Administration.

Usually I would say don’t let your parents dictate your major, but in this case, I’m glad I took my parents suggestion. If it weren’t for my parents, I probably would have never looked into being a Business major. I took zero business classes in high school (because they weren’t weighted classes, so obviously I couldn’t have non-weighted classes dragging my rank down), but I figured that I:

a) was good at numbers,

b) was good at English,

c) was bad at sciences,

d) wanted a well-paying job at a corporate firm in the future, and

e) wanted to work on my people-skills.

All of that totaled to me deciding to be a Business major. Business is great in that it’s a blend of a little bit of everything (except for STEM). Additionally, it’s still a competitive major so all of the hard work I put into in high school wasn’t for naught. A year later, I haven’t yet changed my major. Of course, I have to declare my option within Business Administration, but again, I’m not doing that until I take a variety of business classes. Sometimes, your parents know you better than you know yourself, and taking their suggestion is something I’m incredibly grateful for.

A lot of seniors in high school apply to colleges as an undeclared major, and that’s totally okay. I think it’s so important to just try a ton of classes (most universities require you to take General Education classes as a requirement, which forces you to go out of your comfort zone anyway) to get a feel of what subject you enjoy learning about and what you’re good at.

There’s also, of course, the option to double major or double degree in college, or to minor in something. There are so many options. The key to choosing a major is to do a cost-benefit analysis (like a pros and cons list). Talk to other people for feedback, but don’t get too much feedback where it becomes useless. Trust your gut. There’s always the possibility that you’ll declare a major and then change to a different one because you found something else you’d rather pursue. Heck, who knows if I’ll still be a business major a year from now. Things can change.

 So that’s how I picked my major! It’s a different process for everyone – you might be like my sister, who’s entering her sophomore year of college as well and still not 100% sure what she wants to do.
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4 thoughts on “how i picked my major

  1. I basically picked my major in junior year when I was choosing what colleges to apply to and was super confident in it but now that I’m actually about to go to college I’m super unsure :/ Especially since the school I’m going to doesn’t have as good of programs in Journalism/Advertising or RTF as I would want it to. I think I will like what I’ve chosen though so… I guess I’ll just have to figure it out.

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    1. I thought you were majoring in engineering?! There’s always the option to transfer after your freshman year if you’re up for that, since taking classes will help you determine if you like the school’s program!

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      1. Oh I definitely am I just really want to get experience in other classes because I really want to maybe be able to do science journalism too/instead of just an engineering career. It’s probably way too early to worry about this stuff but 😅

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