How to make a MAJOR decision at age 16-17.

Deciding what to major in once you go to college can be an extremely life-altering and defining experience. While many say it’s impossible to make such impacting decisions at just age 16 or 17, there are a few things that can make it easier:

College1

Figure out what you’re good at.

  • Though you may be tempted to major in something you love, like the idea of graphic design, it doesn’t make much sense to base your entire career off of something you have essentially no proof you won’t struggle in. For example, if you’re in love with the idea of being a graphic designer, but have no art skills, maybe you should focus on other things such as something you already know you have some talent in. The same goes for non-art fields. If you’re excellent at writing but struggle with math and sciences, you wouldn’t want to stress yourself out and potentially fail classes by committing to a major like bio-medical engineering.

Figure out what you love about what you’re already good at.

  • Using the previous example, if you’re great at writing, ask yourself questions such as: “What part about writing do I like?” (ex. Poetry, blogging, or something communications related). Essentially just keep trying out different forms/ways to practice what you love. If its math, figure out if you like statistics, algebra, physics, etc more than another sub-field. This does not necessarily mean you need to pick whatever comes easiest to you, but more so what you enjoy  doing, and what is not a struggle or complete headache.

Talk to an adviser or do some research on your own to find different avenues of possible career paths that the field you’ve picked may lead to.

  • So, you’ve made it this far. Let’s say you decided you’re good at writing, and really enjoy the communications aspect of it. Take a gander around Google and find a few different career paths. Search phrases such as “media writing jobs” “communications writing” and “screenwriting.” Make sure that whatever you feel yourself leaning toward leaves some wiggle room. You may not want the exact same career path your senior year in college as you did your first day of freshmen year; you could begin your collegiate journey wanting to be an author and happily end it with a new job as a screenwriter.

Find a college that specializes in that field, or has a very trustworthy program in the given field.

  • Do some research on the top colleges in your area or in the US (depending on your preference) that offer the program you’ve now got your heart set on. It’s generally a good idea to find 5, and narrow it down to your top 3 picks. Find out what the requirements are for admission in to each of your top programs, and begin preparing!

College Maze

A few extra quick tips:

  1. Test it out for a semester or year: If you take a few classes and its not for you, don’t waste anymore time! Switch it up to something that better fits you.
  2. Minor or have a focus in a related field: This leaves room for minor career changes as discussed earlier. It’s sometimes a good idea to have a broad major and a specific minor. (Ex. English major, Public Relations minor)
  3. Job shadow someone: Job shadowing before you graduate high school or before you get too advanced in your collegiate career provides a good indicator of whether or not you’d enjoy continuing on pursuing a degree in whatever you choose!
  4. Double Major: If you really CANNOT decide between two majors, OR you find two programs are completely necessary to gain the success you’re dreaming of, major in both. It’s quite possible, and doesn’t necessarily always mean it’ll take longer than 4 years to graduate.
  5. Intern: If you’re concerned about finding a job after graduating college, intern while you’re still studying. It allows you to gain experience that is great for resumes, and will help you not feel so worried about finding a job after you graduate college. You can sometimes even begin interning places before you go to college, depending on where you want to work.

Hope that helps provide some insight to all of you Pretty Girls!

– Raven Jahän Joyner (PABPG, President)

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