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What to Do Before You Declare a Major

April 23rd, 2010

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Sometimes it may seem as if there are more majors in your college catalog than students enrolled at your school. Deciding what to study can be difficult, and you may be feeling the pressure to make the right decision. You know that you will be putting in countless hours and immeasurable effort into your major, so you better love it. Even if you end up going into a completely different career field than what you earn a degree in, one thing's for sure: you will dedicate the next few years paying good money to learn about it.

Think about your personality. You personality determines a lot of things: what you are interested in, who you want to be friends with, what you are good at, and how you think about things. It also has a lot to do with what you would most enjoy studying and excel in. Before you declare a major, do a little self-reflection. Figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are, examine your personality traits, and think about your personal preferences. Figure out how all of these things would relate to a major and eventually career. If you are having trouble, consider taking a personality or occupational test, which can help guide you and give you insight into which types of occupations would be the best fit for you.

Think about your learning preferences. Ask yourself how you prefer to learn and which ways you learn the best. Some people learn best through visual techniques and are impacted more when they see something being done. Some people learn best through hearing and remember things better if it is told to them, other people may learn better through doing things and using hand-on approaches to understand processes and information. Think about different majors you would enjoy and how your learning style can be incorporated into them.

Think about what your passions are. Figure out what do you care the most about, what you love to do, and what provokes your thought process. With all of the time and effort that goes into earning an education, you need to have the determination to see it through. You want to be able to find a sense of purpose in your major or you are not going to love it. If you don't love something you aren't going to want to put the effort into learning about it, and you won't be able to succeed in it.

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