Choosing Your Path: Strategies for Deciding Your College Major

Are you a high school student facing the daunting task of choosing a college major? Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the countless options available and unsure of how to make this important decision? Our webinar, “Choosing Your Path: Strategies for Deciding Your College Major,” is here to guide you through the process and empower you to make an informed choice that aligns with your interests, passions, and future goals.

Join us for an enlightening and interactive webinar designed specifically for high school students and their families. Our admissions expert, Stacey Tuttle, will share invaluable insights and strategies to help you navigate the complexities of choosing a college major.

During this webinar, you will:

  1. Explore the importance of choosing a college major: Understand how your choice of major can impact your academic journey, career prospects, and personal fulfillment.
  2. Discover self-assessment tools: Gain insights into various self-assessment tools and exercises that can help you identify your interests, strengths, values, and skills to guide your decision-making process.
  3. Learn about different college majors and career paths: Explore a wide range of academic disciplines and careers, including both traditional and emerging fields, to broaden your understanding of available options.
  4. Understand the connection between majors and careers: Learn how different majors can lead to various career paths and explore potential job prospects and opportunities within specific fields.
  5. Learn about interdisciplinary studies and flexibility: Understand the possibilities of combining multiple disciplines, exploring minors and double majors, and how interdisciplinary approaches can broaden your skillset and career prospects.
  6. Develop decision-making strategies: Learn practical techniques for evaluating factors such as your interests, strengths, values, future job market trends, and personal goals to make an informed choice.
  7. Engage in a live Q&A session: Have your specific questions addressed by our panel of experts to gain personalized advice and insights.

Choosing a college major is a significant decision that can shape your educational and professional journey. This webinar will provide you with the knowledge, resources, and strategies necessary to approach this decision with confidence and clarity.

Don’t let the uncertainty of choosing a major hold you back. Join us for the “Choosing Your Path: Strategies for Deciding Your College Major” webinar and gain the insights and tools to make an informed decision that aligns with your passions and aspirations. Register now and take a vital step towards shaping your future!

Date 06/21/2023
Duration 1:00:46

Webinar Transcription

2023-06-21 – Choosing Your Path: Strategies for Deciding Your College Major

Hi everyone, my name is Stacey Tuttle and I am your presenter today. Welcome to “Choosing Your Path: Strategies for Deciding Your College Major.” To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation, then answer your questions in a live Q& A. On the sidebar, you can download our slides and you can start submitting questions in the Q& A tab.

Um, a little bit more about me, my I am your presenter today in addition to your moderator. Um, I went to Yale for my undergraduate degree where I focused on a major in psychology and a concentration in neuroscience. After I graduated, I worked in private industry for a while, mostly in life science market research before.

Then getting my master’s of public health in health promotion and education, and I ended up returning to academia. At that point, I returned to Yale, um, working at the school of public health as their assistant director of admissions, where I got all of my, um, key admissions experience. Hence why I’m with you all today, and I currently still work at the Yale school of public health as their director of student affairs and registrar.

Um, and I continue to work with many MPH students through their MPH degree programs, um, and see them on to becoming promising public health professionals. So that’s what I do, um, in my day job. Now, I wanted to get to know everybody in the room a little bit more. My understanding is there are a lot of parents here.

Um, so a poll is going to appear in front of you now. What grade is your child? And I just want to get a sense of Um, where your child is in the college application process and where they might be in the major choice process as well. So go ahead and take a minute to fill out that poll.

Looks like we have a lot of juniors and seniors thus far, which makes a lot of sense. But we do have some freshman and sophomore parents, which is wonderful. Um, and there might be some other folks in the audience who might be either pre high school or post high school. Um, and so that’s really great. We have a nice spread.

Um, and it looks like we actually have more sophomores than I thought. So a really nice group here and You know, junior senior year is the perfect time really to start, um, really looking into this because application season, especially for rising seniors is right around the corner. All right. So let’s get into the main part of the presentation here.

What is a college major? Well, it’s your primary field of study and college. Um, for just as a heads up for those of you who are interested in asking questions during the presentation, please be sure to ask them in the Q and a tab, because then I can address them later. Um, if you are having technical issues, I’d advise that you log out of the webinar and log back in as well as troubleshoot your microphone and video settings.

Um, on my end, my microphone and video are working. Um, and so just be sure to try those troubleshooting tricks. So anyway, back to the main part of the presentation. So a college major is your primary field of study in college. The topic will usually account for 50 to 75 percent of your classes. It’s a lot of classes that you would be responsible for during your college career.

So it’s important to select a topic That excites you. Obviously, you don’t want to spend all of your time taking classes and studying something that you’re not excited about. And so finding that best match should be the primary goal in picking that major. There are many factors to consider, but some include.

Your interests, what are you interested in doing, um, your values? What are the things that are important to you in terms of how you spend your time, your skills? What skills do you feel are your strongest ones and ones that you like to highlight about yourself and ultimately your desired career in the end because you, what major you choose and what, um, you learn from that major, um, could perform later career outcomes.

So why is my college major important? The college major impacts many things. One of those would be college admissions requirements. Something students might not think about when choosing a major is when you choose that major at a particular college, they might be looking for specific courses that you took in high school or prerequisites, if you will.

Before you apply to that particular major thinking, you know, maybe stem majors might be interested in seeing that you’ve taken AP bio or AP chem, um, certain coursework in high school. That would make you eligible to apply for that particular major at that school. Those tend to be more competitive cases, but.

It does happen. Um, it will impact a student’s academic advisor assignment once they’re on campus. So the academic advisor will be a faculty member in the department or program of their choice that is related to that major. And so that’s very important. You want to have a really strong academic advisor that you feel connected to.

It will, of course, impact what courses you take. Again, I mentioned before, 50 to 75 percent of your courses will be in that major. It will impact the size of your classes. So more popular majors will likely have more lecture style size courses, larger courses versus less popular majors. And similarly, the relationship with your professors will be impacted because in more popular majors, you will have potentially larger Faculty to student ratios, meaning that you have less faculty per student, and so that personalized advising might be less easy to come by because there are less.

Um, there are more students per faculty member in that department because it is more popular. Um, career opportunities guidance. So, later on, when you start thinking about what you’re going to do after you graduate, um, or even while you’re there, the internship opportunities you might pursue will be directly related to the major and the skills that you’re getting from that major.

It’ll impact your alumni network. So students in your major will ultimately end up being in your alumni network. So it’s something to definitely consider. And then any postgraduate pathways. And we’ll talk about what this means in a little while. Um, but just because you choose a major and say history of art doesn’t mean that you will end up curating art.

In a museum. Um, you might gain a lot of skills that could then inform other pathway pathways that you pursue later, and that could even include going on to further education. So why do you need to select a college major already? It feels very early. I’m sure for some of you, especially if you’re not in your junior or senior year yet, or even if you’re in your junior or senior year, you might be thinking, Why do I need to know this now?

I still have so many more years of college to go, and I’m hoping to maybe explore in those first couple of years. Well, there’s a few reasons why thinking about this now and choosing a major, um, preemptively would be important. So first and foremost, before entering a college or even applying to a college, you want to make sure the college has programs and majors that you actually want.

to study. Um, this is probably the number one mistake that I see in advising students is that they look to a school for many, many reasons, location, name, uh, resources on campus, campus life, campus culture, but they don’t consider whether or not the school has a program or major that they actually want to pursue.

And for that reason, I always advise my students to look up the colleges on their. Final college list and ensure that each of them are offering it at least at minimum two majors that they’re interested in studying because once you get to campus, even if you elect a major when you’re applying, that might not end up being the major you want to pursue.

So you want to make sure you have that flexibility and that you’re going to be happy studying at the college that you end up at. And one component of you. That a huge component of that is ensuring that the school offers majors that you actually want to take. So that’s 1 big reason. Another reason would be when you are actually applying.

Some schools do require that you elect a specific major or rank your top majors in the application process for some schools. This is just a formality, but you want to be able to answer that question. And then subsequently. You know, formulate your strategy in your application around your major choice.

You want to make sure that your, you know, your activities and we’ll talk about this again in a little bit, your activities, your narrative of who you are, your essays are sort of all aligning with this, uh, this choice that you’ve made about what you want to say.

Um, and aligns with the major that you’re choosing. Um, for some schools that have highly competitive majors, they might actually, um, require that you apply specifically into the major. And so which major you apply to actually makes a difference in whether or not you’re going to be able to. Attend the school in question because the majors are highly competitive.

So you might not be able to apply to that major unless you apply from the onset, meaning once you’re at the college, unless you applied from the onset, the major is closed to further applicants. You can’t you don’t have the flexibility. to shift into a major, that particular major once you’re on campus.

And these tend to be, you know, popular majors include things like biology, maybe chemistry, STEM majors. Um, there might be a competitiveness around high enrollment majors like psychology. Um, and so you’ll definitely want to research each of the colleges you’re applying to to determine if there’s flexibility around your major choice.

Um, so some majors actually I mentioned this just before may not allow transfers into them once you’re enrolled in the school. So if you chose on your application that you want to study engineering, and then you get to the school and you say, you know, I really want to do this other major. If you hadn’t researched and applied to that from the onset, you might not be able to transfer into it.

That is not the case for every school. And I would say, for the most part, you can find many, many colleges that allow a lot of flexibility in that freshman, sophomore year to switch between majors, even still, it’s important to do that research and to understand the transfer policies ahead of time. So, what resources can you use to find a major?

I usually recommend making a list of top college majors. Um, and that usually entails making a list of around 10. Um, if that’s feasible, if you have a student. student in your life who is really focused, they want to be a teacher, that’s all they want to do, that’s what they want to study, great, um, definitely encourage them to make a short list of a few other options in case they get to campus, um, and they find that they really don’t like studying, uh, in the teaching field, in the courses that they’ve had to take, uh, in pursuing a teaching degree.

You just don’t know. So I would definitely recommend keeping a list of some kind and making sure that the colleges you’re applying to offer, like I said, at least two majors or programs of interest and keeping that list helps guide your college choices. So when you’re making that list, I would. Suggest using fields of study categories to narrow down major options.

So by that I mean, um, bigger categories under which you will find a number of majors that you can choose from. Think humanities as a large category or social science it says a large category or health science it says a large category. So once you narrow down kind of which categories are of most interest to you, you can then look at the majors.

under that housed under that category to help narrow down the majors of interest to you. I can’t emphasize this enough, research, research, research. Um, there’s a number of ways you can research, uh, the majors and programs available. At your colleges or potential colleges of choice. Um, my first suggestion is one that often is not thought of in the research process, but it’s to look at the published course catalogs, uh, and in addition to college websites to review the list of majors and the courses associated with those majors and the descriptions associated with those majors.

College has, um, some kind of course catalog, some kind of guiding bulletin that describes the programs and majors they have to offer. That is a really great place to start because it’s a comprehensive list of everything being offered at the school in question. If you go through that catalog, and you find there are no majors that I actually want to study here, maybe that college should not be on your list.

Um, that is very rarely going to happen. Most colleges have a wide breadth of options. But again, really great exercise. I would review the curriculum and the coursework for the majors to ensure they align appropriately with your interests. So when you’re looking at a major and you’re looking at the course requirements, if you’re looking at them and.

You’re not getting really excited about what you’re looking at again. Maybe it’s time to consider some other options. And as you’re looking through the course catalog, you might stumble upon potential majors that you never would have thought of. But you’re looking at the course catalog and seeing the courses required for that major and thinking, wow, this sounds really exciting.

Hold on 1 second.

So, sorry, I had to get a drink of water. So, um, this could open up a number of possibilities for you. If you weren’t considering a major before, you might stumble across one that is actually really attractive to you. Um, I would also talk to current professors about their classes if they’re open to that, or some universities let you sit in on classes, um, if allowed, you know, by the institution, I would highly recommend that.

And if you have time to do so, um, you can look at the popularity of majors and making your decision to assess potential class size. We talked about this earlier. If it’s a popular major. Thank you. Classes might be larger and you might not be interested in taking a major with large classes. You might study better in smaller seminar style classes.

So, um, you might choose rather than picking. I don’t for one example, a public health major. You might decide to study. History of Medicine, which is a smaller major. So just an example, um, of how to differentiate there. Look up majors of interest, which with, with which you are less familiar. Excuse me, this may open up more possibilities for you.

So even if you don’t see something in the course catalog you’re interested in, You might just want to, you know, look up college lists and see if there are any, um, that pop out to you that you want to look into further, uh, keep your options open just because you always wanted to study a particular subject growing up doesn’t mean that that is necessarily the only option for you, and it’s the only relevant option for you.

There could be a lot of other majors out there that would meet your interests and your needs. I would also attend webinars. Thanks for joining us. Like this one about college majors. Um, there are a lot of resources like that out there and I would take online quizzes for further insight into potential major matches.

So there’s an example from us news of a major quiz. Um, it assesses kind of your interest in your background and matches you with potential options. So, these are just some ways to narrow down, um, your research, but I cannot emphasize enough how important the research is. How do I determine what major is the right fit?

This is the million dollar question. Choose, and I know this is not necessarily going to seem like a million dollar answer, because it seems very obvious, but choose a major with coursework that you will enjoy studying. Very, very simple, it seems. Um, but it is kind of hard, uh, especially as a high schooler when you’ve only been exposed to so many courses in your high school career, you might not have taken a lot of courses outside of basic, um, coursework that is required of a high schooler.

You might have not had a lot of academic exposure. to potential areas of interest. Um, and so it is really important again to do that research. I usually advise to follow a student’s interests and passions and see which majors could potentially align with those. So what sorts of clubs or activities does the student enjoy in high school?

Which courses or subject do they enjoy in high school and what do they do enjoy doing in their spare time really sit down and assess the answers to those questions and try to align those with potential major options at colleges of interest, um, start from the interest and work backwards. So, will a college major ultimately help your students spend time doing what they care about?

That is the goal period end of the day. Um, and I, therefore, starting with the interest is very important. Um, the major should also help the student build skills towards the career path of interest to them, which I will talk a little bit more about later. And remember, your child’s list is not going to look like anybody else’s.

This is a very individual choice. It’s a very personal choice. It’s going to drive the next four years of, um, their college career and then potential career outcomes afterward. Um, so it is going to be very particular and very specific to the individual.

Should my activities correspond with the major I am interested in? It’s very important, of course, to choose those activities in high school that inform a student’s performance. Educational and career goals. So, for example, if you’re interested in being pre med, hospital volunteering might be important to you, excuse me, debate for potential political science majors, they are, students are naturally going to gravitate to these activities because of their potential career interest.

But your student might have passions for things that have nothing to do with their potential career or major and that is okay. They do not have to give those things up. So, for example, an athlete doesn’t have to stop pursuing their sports just because that doesn’t seem to align directly with their interest in hospital administration.

There are skills that you can gain from sportsmanship, from leadership work, working in a team, managing people, managing a team. All of those are transferable skills. Do potentially a later career. Um, and so just because an activity doesn’t seem to have a direct correlation on the surface doesn’t mean you can’t make it relevant to that potential career of interest, especially in your essays and your application.

You can definitely tie in those components. But at the same time, you know, you do want to make sure that your, your application is consistent with. Your ultimate career goals, your educational goals and your story. You want to include that whole narrative, um, including the things that are relevant and the things that might not seem so relevant.

And then you’ll connect all of those pieces together and answering your essays. And telling your story, your story is your story. It is individual. And so you shouldn’t leave out any of those important components to who you are. Keep in mind when an admissions committee is reviewing an application.

They’re not just looking for a perfect fit for the major. They’re also looking for a good fit for their college campus, um, in terms of student life, in terms of giving back to community. And so the thing, a variety of activities that are important to you that you’re passionate about will make for a stronger application, but you want to make sure that you’re not kind of activity collecting, um, and pursuing things that you’re actually not interested in, because it will not make for a stronger application.

And you will have a hard time writing about those experiences. in the end because you’re not actually passionate about them. I always advise aligning yourself with things that you’re passionate about and then making sure that you’re sustaining those things over time. So multiple years of work in a particular activity shows very well on an application.

Is it okay to apply as an undecided major? Really good question here. Some reasons to choose undecided. You’re most interested in a competitive major, and you need more time to strengthen your academic profile before applying in that major. So. I think of, you know, a student who might not have the strongest science background in high school.

They might not have had really great grades in science, and they want to spend freshman, sophomore year taking additional science coursework, you know, really prepping themselves, um, for. A better leg up in a biology major or a chemistry major, something of that nature, because they know applying under that major may not make them as strong of an applicant, given their poor grades and science coursework.

That’s just one example. Um. You the other reason would be you are truly undecided. You want to spend more time exploring or more time deciding once you get to college. That is totally okay. It is okay to choose undecided. And in some cases, it’s highly encouraged. It’s not recommended to force a major when you’re uncertain because it’s going to be very clear in the application.

That your major choice is not in alignment with your interests at all. Um, you won’t be able to articulate your interest in that major either. So it’s sometimes better to come at the application from the perspective of undecided and leave those options open and really, uh, use the application as an opportunity to sell the narrative of yourself.

Um, in other ways, in terms of your skills, your interests overall, and not necessarily a particular field of study. Thank you. Choosing undecided will drive, of course, which colleges might make your final list, because you don’t want to choose colleges that don’t, um, allow flexibility to explore freshman, sophomore year when it comes to your major.

And you don’t want to choose colleges that require a major choice at the time of application. Ultimately, it’s important that you do have that time and flexibility at your colleges of choice, given their admissions. And their curriculum requirements for the majors. Can I put down different majors when applying to different schools?

Yes, you absolutely can. In fact, you might not have a choice. Because different schools might have different variations of majors that you’re interested in. So, um, some majors that might be related or similar. I always use this example because my background is public health, but some schools might have public health majors.

Some of them might not. And so while you’re interested in public health, then you eventually want to pursue public health as a career. Um, you might not be able to choose public health as a major at that particular college. It doesn’t mean there’s not another major that could give you similar coursework.

Let’s say like an epidemiology major or biology major might be of interest to you, or maybe a social science major, but you might have to choose different options depending on the school and what they’re offering. Some universities might even let you apply to multiple majors or rank a major majors in a list.

Just be sure at the end of the day, whatever you choose, your application shows interest in all those fields indicated in a consistent way, meaning you don’t want to choose public health on one application and engineering on another, and your application really aligns with an interest in public health based on your essays and your interests and your activities.

And somebody at the school where you applied for an engineering major is reading your application saying, why did they apply to engineering? Um, so you wanna make sure that whatever you’re choosing at all of the colleges you’re applying to, your narrative on your application is consistent with that choice.

Okay. Pull. Um, here again. Um, one second. I’m just gonna start. Oh, it looks like the, I’m sorry. It looks like this poll is not prepared, but, um, Um, just for a moment. Consider does your child know what they want to study? Um, yes. Do they know exactly what they want to do? Have they known what they’ve wanted to do since they were in the first grade?

Or maybe they’re exploring and they’re between a couple different majors or maybe they want to pursue multiple majors. And then, of course, a last and final option would be, um. No, they don’t have any idea what to choose right now, and that’s okay too. I do apologize that the poll is not prepared, but just take a moment to consider the question.

So a big question I usually get in the major decision making process is How do I factor in this concept of hard majors or the hardest majors that you can apply to? So there’s two different ways you can Approach this concept of the hardest major. Um, one would be by admission. Uh, this varies by school majors that are hardest to get admitted to, mainly due to over enrollment, meaning there’s a high level of interest in demand.

Ironically, um, many majors that are most popular are some of the easiest in terms of academic requirements because some of the most attractive majors are, um, ones with lighter curriculum and more flex. So, um, that’s not always the case, but hardest majors by admission is one way to view that concept. Um, hardest majors by course content, um, meanwhile, are majors that are actually hard in, in terms of the coursework and perceptively to the student.

They feel that the coursework, the curriculum is actually substantially harder. And they tend to be less popular as a result. Um, the attractiveness of those hardest majors by course content, um, depends on your strength and weaknesses as a scholar. So whatever your strength would be, um, if that aligns with a hard major, that shouldn’t deter you from pursuing that hard major, of course, because your skills actually make sense, um, for the major in question, and you might want to highlight those skills.

Um, but, you know, the example I have there, those not interested in writing should avoid maybe being an English major. Um, that might be true. You might want to consider a major with less writing involved. Also, um, this varies by school, so, uh, it depends on the requirements. Some schools have harder requirements for some majors versus others, so you’ll want to definitely do that research.

Again, research, research, research. Um, ultimately, the takeaway here for you all is students should still apply to the major that most suits them. That will make for a stronger application. Overall, you shouldn’t deter, um, from applying to a hard major, whether that be by admission or by course content, because.

You know, somebody’s telling you like this is not an easy major to get into. That shouldn’t mean that you’re not able to apply if you’re genuinely interested in it. Um, that being said, if you’re struggling between a few majors, understanding which majors are hard to get into as well as which majors are harder curriculum may help you decide between a few choices.

So it’s it’s useful information. But at the end of the day. That information shouldn’t be the driving factor and you not applying for a major. Um, you should still prioritize your passions and your interests first and foremost. What is the connection between majors and careers? So it’s important to choose a major that prepares you for your chosen career path.

Um, so some questions to consider. Which majors give you the tools you need to succeed in a particular career path? Which careers do you definitely not want to pursue? And which careers do you definitely want to pursue? Both of those are relevant questions. Because if there’s something you definitely don’t want to do, And there are certain majors at your college that may lend themselves to maybe something you’re interested in doing, but there’s a component of those that.

Definitely, it’s not of interest to you that may drive you in another direction in your research. I would suggest talking to current professionals in your careers of interest and ask them. What did you study? How did you get into what you’re doing? I would also research the educational backgrounds being sought after by employers and careers of interest.

So you can look online to see what employers are looking for at companies. You might be interested in working for, um, Businesses or areas of interest that you might be interested in pursuing. Um, see what they’re posting and their job postings. What are they looking for? You might be surprised because there are a number of industries where they’re not necessarily looking for a particular major when they make their job postings.

It’s usually generally more so a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree. And then what they’re really looking for our skills. Um, and so you keep in mind that some majors are not as limiting. Um, As they might seem. So you’ll see psychology majors like working in higher ed. This is the example I used earlier, history of art majors working in library science, political science majors working in consulting.

Just because you have a particular major doesn’t mean that you have a one to one relationship with a particular career. There are many career options sometimes for, um. For majors that you might choose and you can therefore pursue a number of different pathways depending on the skills You wish to highlight in your areas of interest Now, you know, there’s always going to be majors that and careers that will really need specific majors Like education is one of those on health care careers tend to need a particular major engineering some areas of business But many many majors are not

As limiting in that in that fashion, and there is flexibility, therefore, within your college major as well as within the work. How can I utilize minors or additional majors? So minors as I actually utilize the minor when I was in college, my minor was in neuroscience. These are secondary fields of study with fewer requirements and they’re optional.

You can major in one option while minoring in another. So my major was psychology. That was my major focus. Those were my main degree requirements. Those were most of my courses. So, um, my thesis, which is neuroscience, I’ll involve me pursuing a specific subset of coursework and information. And my thesis actually had to be neuroscience focused in order to fulfill the concentration.

So that’s just one example, but concentrations are optional. And, um, for schools that offer that students might really love that ability to tailor their education, um, by adding on an additional skill set that they can then highlight in the employment realm. Later double majors. Meanwhile, focus on 2 areas of study.

So these vary by school. Um, some are clearly combined programs. You can look in a course catalog and you’ll see. That there are specific, um, dual degree programs, um, that have already been combined in this way to allow a student to pursue them in the most optimal curriculum. Um, students could also declare two distinct majors and formulate their own pathways.

So you might say my school doesn’t have a formalized joint kind of dual major program. Um, but I want to do these two majors and I’m going to combine them and I’m going to make this work. As long as your school allows that, um, per their academic policies, that is doable. Um, in some cases, though, schools might not allow, uh, double majoring and they, in some cases, even if they did allow double majoring, the requirements for two majors might be prohibitive from taking both at the same time, either because there’s too many requirements, you can’t complete both.

During the time frame that you have at college, those 4 years, or it’s maybe scheduling overlap, um, prevent you from completing both requirements. There could be a number of reasons for that because it isn’t easy. It is double the coursework, double the theses, double the capstones, double the course requirements.

So. Students who elect to do this definitely have a lot of work under their belt, but students who are very focused and want both of those options and have both of those skill sets and majors listed on their transcript will do that and it can allow for more varied roles at graduation, more versatile skills as well for you to demonstrate to future employers.

All right. As a former AO, do I have any final advice for helping you select a major? Well, major choice is a personal choice. I did emphasize that earlier, but I want to emphasize that again. Um, I think one of the biggest, um, mistakes a student can make is letting others drive their major choice, whether that be parents or, um, you know, advisors or teachers or friends.

The major choice should really be… The students, um, and that’s how, you know, it’s a genuine one. It’s one. That’s the right one for the student. Um, and it should be specific to their passions and interests. The goal is for your student to be happy in their studies and ultimately in the related career outcome as a result of their major choice.

And you would want to make sure that major is one that helps them gain the skills they need for their future career goals. There’s many strategies, um, in the selection, but again, don’t let others drive your top majors list. Also, don’t let the hardest or easiest majors list that you see online deter you from pursuing a major.

When applying, be sure that all colleges have top majors of interest, right? We talked about that at the beginning, and make sure that colleges also have some initial flexibility if you need time to explore. Your major ultimately represents your academic passion and will ultimately reflect on your diploma, so it’s worthwhile to spend time on this research.

If you are certain of your interests, ultimately, that will make for a stronger application. Knowing who you are, having that moment of reflection, taking time to understand your values, your skills, your interests, and your future goals will lead to the correct major or majors of interest when you apply, and then ultimately read well to an admissions officer.

Excuse me. Um, so that is the end of the presentation part of our webinar. I hope you found the information to be helpful and remember that you can download the slides for the link in the handouts tab. Now, I’m going to move on to the live Q and a. I’ll read through the questions you submit in the Q and a tab, and then paste them into the public chat so you can see them.

And then read them out loud before giving an answer. As a heads up, if your Q& A tab isn’t letting you submit questions, just double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email, and not from the webinar landing page. Okay, so with that, let’s go over to the Q& A. So the first question here, will being undecided weaken your college application?

The answer to this is no. Um, it what your focus in your application should be is. An overall narrative of you as a person and what you hope to get out of your educational journey. And then ultimately, um, a career journey later on, you might not have all the answers to what your ultimate major and career will be at this point in time, but you do know who you are as a person.

Your application should show a significant amount of self reflection. And, um, a consistent narrative in terms of your interests and your skills between your activities, your essays. And the, like, you can build a strong narrative while still me being undecided with your major.

What careers do poli sci majors go into? Um, so you’re going to want to research this with the particular major and at the particular college, you’re going to want to talk to, um, poli sci students, poli sci alumni, um, from protect particular colleges of interest. Um, I can’t speak to. You know, the direct correlation career to major for all majors out there.

Poli Sci has a number of options. Again, you know, I’ve, I’ve had Poli Sci friends who have gone on to law school, med school. I’ve had Poli Sci friends go into political campaigning. I’ve had Poli Sci friends decide I want to go on for a master’s or PhD program. So there’s a number of things you can do with a Poli Sci major.

Um, I think it really, The question really should be, you know, what, what kinds of careers are you interested in? What kinds of, um, activities are interesting to you? Um, how do you want to spend your time? Does poli sci align, um, with things that you’re really interested in studying? And maybe poli sci should remain on your list.

Um, and for those the, uh, general Q and a that would help me to address your question and show it to the larger group. Thank you.

Biology has so many majors. It’s so true. How can one choose a major? Um, that helps in getting advantage in admissions. So again, this really has to do, I, I always advise starting with your interests. So if you’re interested in biology then and you’re worried about. choosing a particular biology major, I would suggest doing the research, going back to the course catalogs, going to the course websites, reviewing the colleges of interest and seeing which biology majors they have to offer and the curriculum associated with those.

If you’re looking at the curriculum for a particular major and you’re seeing that, maybe I don’t like all of these courses, or you don’t want to pursue all these courses, then perhaps consider a different biology major or a different biology major altogether. Um, there are some colleges that might have restrictions on application to biology majors because they might be high volume, um, application majors.

So you’re going to want to look into the policies at each of the schools you apply to. If my child applies for one major, how hard is it to change majors if they change their mind? It’s a great question, and what are strategies to do so? It depends on the school, and it depends on the majors, um, but for the most part, most colleges will give you flexibility in your freshman and sophomore year, and most colleges won’t require that you elect your major until sophomore year, typically fresh, or the first or second semester sophomore year.

So there is time to explore. There are a lot of liberal arts colleges out there that give a lot of flexibility in freshman year to take coursework so that you can explore your interest once you get to college. Um, so again, it depends on the school. Um, and I would recommend that the student take advantage of advising on campus faculty, talk to faculty, talk to students in the major, um, to help narrow down their interest in their choices.

When moving from undergrad to graduate level work, how is it important? How important is it to stay at the same school? It is, it’s not. Um, you know, you can go to undergrad at one school and to grad school at a completely different institution. What’s more important after undergrad, if you decide to go on to further study, and in this case, the psych major, you should focus on the resources available, um, and the faculty and the research that they’re doing.

At that graduate level work on at that graduate level curriculum, and you want to make sure you’re going to be happy at that graduate school studying what you need to study. There will be different priorities for different people when choosing a graduate program. Things like financial aid, location, and again, curriculum and research.

And so those are really the questions that you want to be. Asking you shouldn’t feel like you need to stay at the same, um, school to get the graduate level education that you need. How can I find out if the university I’m interested in requires me to apply to a specific programs because specific school within the university or can I apply generally? So. This goes back to research. You do want to review the admissions websites for all of your colleges of interest to see, you know, if there are particular application requirements for particular majors, you can also reach out to admissions officers with these questions.

You can take tours of college campuses, go to visitor centers on college campuses and get more information about how to apply and things of that nature. You do have to reach out and do that research directly. Can you provide some other online quizzes for further insight into potential major matches? I, I’m not going to share additional quizzes in the chat right now.

I do want to focus on answering the questions at hand, but you absolutely can Google and search and find a number of resources out there. The U.S. News ones are one is the one I would recommend. Um, at this time, but there are also a number of other like personality type quizzes that could help, um, give insight into potential career choices when that I always, um, recommended 16 personalities.

It’s kind of a quirky way to have a moment of reflection about yourself as it gives insight into not just potential careers, but just like Different aspects of your personality, um, that might lend itself to different careers or different areas of interest. So anything from a major choice to a personality quiz, those can help inform your decision and help be serve as like a self reflection tool.

There will be a recording after the webinar today. I know that’s usually a very popular question. How can I tell how competitive one major is versus another? Again, this does go back to research at the individual university. You can also look up lists of like harder majors or easier majors in terms of admission, but it really varies by institution. So you’re going to want to look at the colleges on your students list and inquire accordingly.

What if I change my major interest around the end of 11th grade and I don’t have any activities related? That is a great question. And so if you change your major choice. I would challenge you and, and questioning what was, what moment, what thing drove that change in major choice. From there, um, you’ll really have your answer as to how to frame your narrative because that, that turning point, that transition point, that’s the story you’re going to want to convey to the admissions officer.

So they understand what major life point for you, be it personal, if you’re willing to share that. Or an academic course that you took. What was that moment that brought you to this different major? That is what the admissions officer wants to understand when they’re reviewing the overall narrative of your application, given that you don’t really have any relevant activities.

So you’re going to want to work to make sure you convey that interest and why you are applying to that major specifically, because it’s not going to be clear through your activities.

Is a double major a good idea for when you have interest in two topics, or is majoring in one topic and minoring in the other a better idea? That is a great question. So double majoring, um, is a lot of work. I would, um, this is going to be a personal choice at the end of the day, and it’s going to depend on the institution and what they allow you to do.

So some. Institutions might not allow minoring. They might only allow double majoring or vice versa. So the first question is, does the school you’re at allow for either or both of these options? But if you confirm both are an option, I think it really has to do with your bandwidth as a student and your priorities as a student.

Do you want more opportunity to take electives as coursework? Are you so interested in these two topics that you would be taking electives in those then that second major anyway, in that case, it might just be worth double majoring because you would be end up taking taking those courses of electives anyway, and that really is a lot of the times how double majors happen is students realize I’m doing both of these things as it is.

I might as well, you know, fulfill the major requirements for both. It does take that additional work to make sure academically that’s happening. Um, you know, you want to make sure you’re electing double major appropriately at the school in question and that you’re fulfilling all the appropriate requirements, especially when it comes to the thesis or capstone course.

So again, a personal decision. Um, minoring allows more flexibility in your curriculum in terms of taking other courses outside of those two majors and might be a little less strenuous on you and your schedule. So something to consider. Do colleges share hardest majors by admission? If yes, where do they do that?

Again, it depends on the institution. You’re going to find a lot of these kind of hardest majors lists online that have been compiled by various institutions and reporting, um, companies. They’re not going to be consistent from school to school, but rather are generally going to, um, kind of collect information metadata and put it all together so that you can see what you might encounter from school to school, but each school is going to be different.

Um, so it’s and not every school is going to list hardest major, um, by admission. So you are going to want to do that research school by school.

Should you indicate in college applications that you are interested in double majoring and the ones that you are interested in? Some college applications won’t allow you to choose more than one major, so you might be forced to choose just one. But if that’s part of your narrative, if that’s something that you want to convey to the admissions committee, And you have an opportunity to do that to select two, I absolutely would advise doing that if that’s something of interest to you.

Um, it might provide for a more cohesive narrative for you, a more focused narrative for you, but I only advise doing that if you truly and genuinely. are interested in both majors.

If you are applying for multiple majors at a particular college, you have to submit multiple applications or just one that includes all majors of interest. Again, it really depends on the institution. Um, some schools use the common app. Some schools use the coalition app. Some schools, um, like UC schools have a whole separate process.

University of California schools. So the way they approach Your major selection and then also supplemental essays and requirements associated with the major will vary by institution institution. So, again, part of the research processes. Okay, which majors does the school offer? And what are the application requirements for those majors?

I’m interested in once you’ve narrowed down the majors that you’re interested Talk a little bit more about CollegeAdvisor for those in the room who aren’t working with us. We know how overwhelming the admissions process can be our team of over 400 former admissions officers and admissions experts are ready to help you and your family navigated all in one on one advising sessions to take the next step in your college admissions journey by signing up for a free 45 to 60 minute strategy session with an admission specialist on our team.

Using the QR code on the screen, and during that meeting, we’ll review your current extracurricular lists and application strategy, discuss how they line up with your college list and outline the tools that you need to stand out in a competitive admissions world. So, we definitely recommend taking advantage of that here, and it’s going to be on the next slide as well.

While we get back to the Q and a, um, is there a difference between exploratory studies and undecided so exploratory exploratory studies might be a particular. Yeah, definitely. Major or area of interest when you’re applying to colleges. Um, undecided is, is usually different from this. Um, I think it depends on the institution and where you’re seeing that information.

Okay. So additional questions around exploratory studies. So it sounds like there are some institutions that allow you to select this so that you can explore your options before selecting a major. You know, it’s probable that this could be really helpful for your student if they are truly undecided. It allows them to really elect being in that exploratory phase before, um, actually electing a major.

I don’t see this as very different from undecided. Um, but again, I think it will depend on the institution and what that entails and what that requires of your student.

What if you have a major in mind, but haven’t done any extracurriculars related to it? So. This is similar to the last question in relation to changing your major choice very late in the high school career. Um, you do want to convey to the admissions committee again why you are selecting the major. If you don’t have extracurriculars related to it, what life experiences or, um, courses or whatever has driven you to select that major?

What are those key things that have led you to that point? And you do want to convey that, um, perhaps in your essays or Something I didn’t mention before, but even your letters recommendation, those would be areas that you would want to, um, reinforce, uh, your major interest because it’s not coming through your extracurriculars.

And just because your extracurriculars don’t seem again, clearly related to the major you’re choosing, it doesn’t mean that your major is. The the skills that you have from your extracurriculars are not transferable to that major. So again, going back to that example about sports, there’s tons of leadership experience that you can get in sports that you can transfer to many, many majors.

So you could make those connections from your activities as well. How much in money, job, salary, drive and major choice? That is a great question. So that’s a very personal decision at the end of the day. I. Normally would suggest, um, and strongly advise actually prioritizing your interests and your passions before salary.

Um, there and mainly because you could choose a job or an area of interest, um, or a major that would ultimately. produce a high salary, um, based on any sort of projections or information that you’re provided by career counselors and such. But if you’re not studying something you really enjoy or that you’re passionate about or that your skills really lend itself to, you open up the door, the possibility for you not to succeed, um, in your studies and then ultimately not potentially succeed in your career outcome as well as, um, if you do.

end up pursuing that career, despite being unhappy in your studies, you’ll ultimately be doing something you’re unhappy doing. Um, so I do think, of course, it’s a factor. It’s something that personally, everybody’s going to have to consider, but it should be very closely considered alongside, um, your, your true passions and your true interests.

Can you apply undeclared and change major into related to music if you don’t enter within audition? So that’s a question for the institutions you’re applying to. If you are interested in music,

can you apply undecided to that institution and still transfer later? That will depend on the individual transfer policies of the school. There are many schools out there that allow that flexibility, but you’re going to want to inquire specifically at the institutions that you’re applying to.

You mentioned the essay being aligned to your major, but some of the prompts actually are more related to character value skills. Could you deepen a bit on this, please? Absolutely. So again, your application is not just about whether or not you’re going to be a good fit for the major. That you may or may not be choosing, but rather it’s a way for the admissions committee to understand what you’re going to bring to campus.

What you’re going to bring to the college community. How are your interests and your values align with the school. Um, and so that’s where those essay prompts come from. Um, supplemental essays will vary. Some colleges will. Point blank ask why this major and so that’s really essay. I’m alluding to, um, when it comes to kind of elaborating on your major interest.

Um, if you have an opportunity in other essays to explain your major interest, if you feel like it’s not, you know, clear in your other components of the application, like your activities. You can definitely utilize your essays in a creative way, even if it’s not point blank asking about your major, you could use an essay to emphasize a life experience or an area of interest, even if it’s asking about character or skills, you can use an anecdote that lends itself to your major choice. Um, and so that’s something you could definitely. Utilize our consultation here. We’re CollegeAdvisor to discuss more personally.

Okay. We’re just a minute left here. I’m just looking for maybe a question that we haven’t answered those interested in medical school majors. That would be best for medical school applications. The answer is, you can really apply to almost any major and pursue almost any major and still be successful in your medical school applications. In fact, you know, we’ve seen. Humanity majors, English majors, history of art majors be very successful in medical school application processes.

Um, that said, if you choose something like biology or chemistry, majors that have a lot of the pre med coursework already involved in their curriculum, it might be easier to fulfill medical school requirements and you might naturally even already almost like fall within one of those majors because you’re fulfilling the pre med requirements. But rest assured that you can in fact pursue other majors as long as you’re fulfilling those prerequisites for med school alongside the requirements for that major. Okay, I’m with a minute left here. Um, see if there’s a quick question.

So I guess what the last question I’ll answer here is about being undecided and making that harder to transfer into another major. Um, in again, in some schools, it will be harder to transfer into particular majors if they are high demand majors or majors that required application. at the time of applying to college.

Um, and so you want to make sure that when you’re applying to a college, they allow flexibility to explore majors if you are applying undecided. So I, I know we only have. A few seconds left here. Um, so we do have to wrap up the webinar. I had a great time talking to you all about choosing, um, your path strategies for deciding your college major.

The webinar recording will be shared after. Thank you for everyone for coming out tonight. Um, I do want to share the rest of our June webinar series here. Um, and have a great night. Thank you all.