5 Ways to Pick a College Major and Stop Stressing

By Diana Zarowin - NYU Graduate

For most, the end of sophomore year in college brings with it a finals period, a more serious approaching summer internship, and a move from dorm to apartment. Yet, for all, the end of sophomore year naturally creates the necessary transition from ‘underclass’ to ‘upper class’ – a changeover that bears the considerably large responsibility of selecting a college major (or two! Or three! I see you overachievers.).

With the myriad of fields of study available to college students today (and the many interests that undergraduates tend to want to explore), choosing a specific major or two to pursue can be confusing, at best, and stressful and overwhelming, at worst - unless you’re one of those blessed individuals who knew you wanted to be a pediatric oncologist since the age of four and are planning to major in biochemistry, that is.

Read on and get excited for what’s to come when you delve deeper into your academic interests!

Take General Requirements Early On

Most universities offer a variety of intro classes (either as a requirement or optional) in almost every subject thinkable. If you have an inkling of interest in a particular field, take the intro class during your freshman or sophomore years and see if your hunch was correct. And, oppositely, if it turns out you absolutely hate the area of study- well, then, it’s good you found this out early on and can continue to explore your other interests!

Talk to Upperclassmen

Juniors and seniors had to go through this very same major selection process during the end of their sophomore year. As such, they are the ideal resource for you. Pick their brains, ask for advice, talk to them about their experiences – learn what they did right and what they may have done wrong. They are in the perfect position to advise you, especially since the process is fresh in their brains.

Club Events & Networking

Oftentimes, the most eye-opening things we learn, we learn from experiences outside of the classroom. By attending a club event or networking session, you may find yourself developing an interest in an area of study you hadn’t thought about previously or hadn’t even been exposed to at all! Take advantage of these opportunities and try to learn more about yourself and your interests through them.

Professors are Wise: Take Advantage of Office Hours

Yes, your professors are the ones who assign homework, schedule quizzes, and lecture on at 8 am while you play candy crush on your phones in the back of the room. But, beyond that, professors are a great resource for you to utilize while picking your major. They have academic insights that you, young student, do not, and may also have real-world experience in the field, outside of academia.

It’s Never Too Late to Change, But it Comes With a Price

The most important thing to remember is that it’s never too late to change your mind. Even if you were to decide to transfer majors at the end of senior year or as a post-graduate(!), the opportunity to embark on a new academic path would always be available to you. Just remember the more credits you take, the more money you have to pay.