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Unsure about your major? You're not alone!

Clock’s ticking! It’s time to email your academic advisor about your plans for next semester and you find yourself in an ambiguous predicament on where you must turn! Sound familiar? Good news, you’re not alone!

Research by Penn State and other credible institutions has shown that up to 80 percent of students entering college admit that they are uncertain about what they want to major in, even if they have declared a major. Before graduation over 50 percent of college students change their major at least once. So even though it may sound uncool to be declared as “undecided” or “in transition,” don’t be afraid to explore unfamiliar classes, maybe even discover your passion or career path. Suggested below are some of the places which might serve as a good start:

  • Consider some of the classes that you enjoyed the most in high school, not the ones that you found easy to learn but classes that you looked forward to attending just because you enjoyed learning the content.

  • Were there certain books that kept you up late at night? You may look for a certain genre or overarching theme those books might have addressed. You may also think about certain magazine or newspaper articles that intrigued you.

If this still leaves you at the exact same place as before then consider the following:

  • Consider taking a career assessment offered by Purdue CCO that offers services like the Strong Interest Inventory or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and many more. The results for such assessments can provide valuable information about what majors could be a good match to your abilities.

  • Try to get an internship in the field you think you might be interested in. This is an excellent way of getting experience without any long term commitment to that specific job or career path.

  • Talk to a career counselor, who could help you in contacting a faculty member or student leader who could answer your questions about a particular department. Through them, you can get off-the-record information such as which curriculums require the most reading and which professors are the most fun. In addition, your career center or academic department of interest should have a list of alumni who’ve gone through the department and what they’re doing today. Can you see yourself in their shoes one day? If so, get connected with your college’s alumni mentoring program.

One final word of caution. Since many majors have plans of study that follow a tight schedule, don’t abstain from taking classes such as science and/or statistics requirements that you may need later on. Remember, it may be easier to switch out of your current major now than it would be towards the end of your college career.

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