5 Tips on How to Pick Your College Major or Minor
Written by Christi Given | May 5, 2014
Every week, I go through the “Girl Talk” section of Project Inspired and look for those seeking advice and counsel. I want to help answer some questions you may have about living out your Christian life and walk of faith! We want PI to be a safe place where you can ask questions.
This week, a PI Girl asked about how to decide on a minor for her college studies. The question of how to choose a major or minor is a common one among students, and it’s an important concern for those who want to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Click here to read more about this Girl Talk post or to join our chat.
This PI Girl had a very specific question pertaining to her own situation. She wants to major in English—so she is already seeking out a degree that will focus on her prioritized interests. But since she wishes to work with children or animals, she wants to choose a minor in something that will also align with her passions and goals.
Here are some tips that will help you pick a major and/or minor to study in college.
5 Tips for Choosing a College Major or Minor Degree
1. Declare a major from your passions. It may seem like common sense or a no-brainer to declare a major of interest to you, but if you think about it, you’ll want to study what intrigues you or what you can imagine pursuing as a career. You don’t want to waste your time changing majors and/or doing something you don’t like. Now, if you’re completely unsure of your future career choice, at least pick something that gets you excited about the future! Can’t think of anything? What are your favorite hobbies? Think of your dream job…THAT is what you should pursue. Remember, you’re going to be spending a lot of time focusing on this particular area of study, so choose wisely.
In a study from U.S. News & World Report, an academic advisor said:
“The tough idea for students today to grasp is that they can choose to study something that they are passionate about, an academic area that they love, without knowing what vocational path that might lead to… Many students get stuck on the idea that they have to have a clear vocational goal in order to choose a major.” —Carmen Varejcka-McGee, advisor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
2. Pick your #1 choice in advance. You may have many academic and career interests, but it’s important to narrow down your career and future to one topic of study. The more focused you are, the more likely it is you’ll be successful in this field of work. If you get a jump-start on what it is you want to do with your life, you’ll find yourself getting through school faster than those who wait and change their emphasis multiple times. I’m speaking generally here—not everyone who is accomplished has a college degree and knows what they want early in life. But for the most part, the more time you save on decisions, the clearer a vision you’ll have of where to start.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” —Harriet Tubman
3. Pick a major or emphasis in your areas of strength. Do you like leading? Are you good with children or teaching? Do you like coaching? Do you love to write? Are you compassionate and hospitable? Do you naturally care for people? Are you interested in helping advance science? In what subjects are you really gifted? Think about the areas of athletics, academics or even in Sunday school where you really feel confident and strong. From there, find a career path that would be a good fit for you and your life. This is also a great way to eliminate what you don’t want to study or what particular subjects make you feel vulnerable.
“Over the years, I’ve learned that a confident person doesn’t concentrate or focus on their weaknesses—they maximize their strengths.” —Joyce Meyer
4. Pray and ask God to guide you. Obviously we can discuss majors and minors with parents, friends, mentors, school counselors and even youth pastors, but ultimately as believers, we need to remember who to gain insight from: God. We need to seek God first in all things, and what does the Bible say? He will ADD EVERYTHING else after that. We will have all we need when we seek God’s Kingdom, church and house FIRST (Matthew 6:33). That means our heart’s will, desires and dreams are laid at Jesus’ feet until we hear what the Father is asking for us to do in our lives. Chances are, if you want to pursue a specific dream or goal, God put that passion and fire in you to do that for a reason. God loves you and WANTS you to succeed! Pray and He will guide you.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)
5. Read the Word of God—it will light your path. Psalm 119:105 says that God’s Word (the Holy Bible) is a LAMP UNTO OUR FEET AND A LIGHT UNTO OUR PATH. What does that mean? It means when we read it daily, we will know which way to go. God’s Word is His voice, His way, His will and His instruction for our lives. It is God’s letter to us! Sounds too good to be true? Then I ask you and challenge you to pray to God, ask Him genuinely (from your heart) to speak to you from the BIBLE (Basic. Instructions. Before. Leaving. Earth) and see what happens. God will tell you which way to turn. Remember, everything is perfect in HIS timing, not ours, so we need to learn to be patient, listen and then go when He tells us.
PI Girls, remember to seek God, dream big, work hard and know that you are special and designed for a purpose! Whatever you decide to study or to pursue as a career or lifelong ministry, God is with you and delights in every detail of your life (Psalm 37:23). When you are in doubt or in a season of the unknown, remember God knows your future and has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Remember, at PI, we are praying for you girls. Do you have a major or career of interest? What are your passions? Have you decided to declare your major and minor yet? Comment below!