You’ve committed to pursuing a degree and even decided where to study. You may have some idea of what comes next, but the specifics can feel daunting to figure out.

You’re already on the right path, but here are some ideas for how to figure out how to choose your college major — and what to do with it once you’ve processioned across the graduation stage.

Explore Your Interests 

One of the first steps to deciding what to do with your major is to find what you’re truly interested in and passionate about. 

Whether you’re mesmerized by the stars or can’t stop thinking about what’s at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the ideas that intrigue you may be a good place to start. 

Do you enjoy spending time with your pets rather than meeting strangers? Look into careers at places like veterinary practices, zoos, or animal sanctuaries. 

If you find yourself constantly doodling in the margins of your notes, becoming an artist, graphic designer, or creative director may be in the cards for you. 

Have hundreds of hours logged on your gaming consoles? Game development, UX design, or audiovisual production could be excellent options.

You should enjoy what you study — and the work it will eventually lead to — so pursuing what you care about is important. 

Prioritize Your Strengths

As the saying goes, you can do anything, but not everything. Whatever pathway you decide to invest in, the work it will take to get there is an important consideration.

In the previous section we discussed exploring your interests, but your strengths should play a role in your decision, too. 

You may love the idea of space exploration, but the vast majority of related careers involve an emphasis on math, physics, and will likely involve a heavy STEM course load. Similarly, you may dream of being on the New York Times Best Seller list one day, but pursuing becoming a writer or author means volumes of required reading, rigorous writing and research, and dozens of rounds of editing and revisions.

If you consistently find yourself struggling to grasp mathematical concepts, scientific theories, or esoteric themes in literature, that may be a sign that a certain major may not be the best fit for you.

Pursuing higher education is definitely challenging, but no matter what you choose, the classes, work, and potential career your college major provides should ultimately feel inspiring and motivating, not draining. 

Ask For Advice 

It can be difficult to know what’s best for us if we’re the only ones examining the puzzle. It may be helpful to seek advice from those who know you best; your family, friends, teachers, and mentors are all people who want the best for you and can offer guidance. 

They can help you see strengths you may not have noticed before — and potentially steer you away from delving into something that may not be in your best interests.

Family members, if you need some tips on how involved parents and guardians should be in their students’ college application process, read our blog.

Do Your Research

In addition to those you know in your day-to-day life, you can seek additional sources of information online or from your school’s advising services. 

The Princeton Review wrote a Guide to Choosing College Majors and social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube have hours of content created by people sharing their experiences. 

We also have several blogs available about multiple subjects, including biology, law, and psychology.

Get Involved in Extracurriculars

Get out of your comfort zone and explore all the facets of different majors and fields through extracurricular activities and courses to help guide you through the process. 

Harvard Summer School offers Career Pathways courses, which are designed to help you gain a new perspective on a field you may want to pursue and potentially determine a career path. The courses cover multiple topics from neuroscience to journalism to entrepreneurship to genetics.

Learn from industry experts about careers in engineering and gain insight about what engineers do day-to-day, how to build your network, and present yourself in the best light possible to peers and potential employers alike. 

Ultimately, it is up to you to create your future. Get started today!