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.