Choosing a major defines a student’s life unlike any other academic decision.
Many students fear wasting money by starting school without a major or accruing thousands of dollars in student loans. Students who haven’t chosen a major sometimes stress over not knowing what they want out of their education.
Elizete Bond, an academic advisor at Salt Lake Community College, says there are many resources the college provides to help students along in making their decision.
“I would recommend to a student who is having a hard time deciding to meet with career services. They can help you in deciding the best career path and salary demand for the students type of interests,” she says.
Daniel Adkins, an associate professor of sociology and psychiatry at the University of Utah, says students shouldn’t just look at one thing when picking a major.
“Choose something that satisfies three criteria: choose something that you’re good at, something that you enjoy, and something you get paid well for,” he says. “The first criteria is something you learn through being in college, the second is something we all initially know, and the third requires a little bit of research.”
Meghan Henderson, a former SLCC student who recently graduated from a European college with a B.S. in fashion marketing and management, recommends slowing down.
“Students can make the process easier by not stressing too much on picking a major right away,” she says. “Make a list of things you love to do in the world, then make a list of what these things have in common and see what type of major these ideas lead to.”
Samantha Marks, who attended SLCC before transferring to the University of Utah, says she picked psychology and criminology as a major.
“I looked at my personal life, because I had family that had a lot of mental issues, and I wanted to figure out why that had to happen,” she says. “I would advise students that weren’t sure on what they wanted to go into to just try a bunch of different classes and to not be in a hurry to make a decision.”
Bond reinforced this advice.
“Don’t worry about stressing over a major right away, start with generals. I would not recommend [waiting] until you decide on a major to start college,” she says. “You are going to make a lot of friends and connections throughout the term that will help you in making your decision. Generals will help you get a taste for a little bit of everything. Every program has an advisor to help you with your transition.”