Undeclared Major

Are you uncertain or undecided about your major? You have lots of company. Many college students express they uncertainty making statement such as “I have no idea what I’m interested in”; “I used to know what I wanted to do, but now I’m not sure”; or “I like lots of things and I don’t know which to choose.” In this lesson we will offer your strategies to help you move toward resolving these uncertainties.

Most importantly, don’t worry! You will find your way to a field of study that suits you. And your college major does not necessarily define the rest of your life. The crucial purpose of a liberal education is to develop the core abilities of critical thinking, asking good questions, writing cogently and effectively, and having a broad knowledge of the world. Your major can help you cultivate these abilities, but once you have them, they will be transferable into new fields and situations.

Second, make sure that you choose something that fits you and what you love. Your family and best friend don’t have to sit through that psychology, physics or literature exam—you do. All their hopes and wishes for your future are not going to make you a good accountant, if accounting is not something that draws you. On the other hand, if you are set on a particular career, there are many ways in which you can prepare. Keep your goals in mind, but be flexible about how you get to that goal. Don’t focus too narrowly on one aim. Follow your passions and give yourself space. Choose the major that best fits your interests and academic abilities, but leave some room to play.

Here are some specific strategies to help you hone in on what makes sense for you:

1. Take courses that will help you work out what your major should be.

2. Talk to lots of people.

3. Learn more about possible career paths.

4. Take a chance on something out of the box.

You may find that a field your had never considered (like Geographic Information Science, Painting, or Asian Studies) is exactly what you wanted to pursue

5. Consider a student-designed major.

If your interests just don’t seem to fit within a particular Clark major, then a student-designed major may be the best way to resolve your dilemma. For information on how to design your own major, contact Associate Dean of the College, Kevin McKenna (x7468).

As you are considering possible majors, remember to pay attention to the number of courses these majors require, and the order in which you need to take required courses. Some majors need to be started right away and others can be entered later. You need to consider these factors as well.

Selecting your eventual major is one of the important decisions you will make in college. But it does not have to be a painful process. Know the resources that are available to you and take advantage of them!