If you're a junior or senior in high school, you probably get this question a lot. "So, what are you going to study?" It might also come in the flavor of, "So, what do you want to do?" They're both pretty bold questions, as they ask you to predict your interests for the next four years or even longer. The truth is that a lot can change once you get to college. You might start college having declared a certain major only to find that you're not really interested. In that case, you've lost some time in fulfilling degree requirements.
If you're not sure what to study, you're not alone. This Times article
suggests that about 80% of college students don't know what they want to study when enrolling in college. Don't feel like being "undecided" is a character flaw. It means that you're willing enough to try something new. Some of you may have known what you want to study in college for a while, but it's not a bad idea to figure out where that desire comes from. Entering college "undecided" means that you have a little extra work to do, but the opportunity you have is extraordinary.
If you're not ready to choose what to study you have an incredible opportunity for exploration. While I didn't enter college undecided, I did change my major three times. I started as a biology major
. Sophomore year I switched to health science
for a quarter, and I eventually figured out that I'm most interested in studying chemistry
. I didn't lose time because I was still taking general classes. If you're motivated to try new things, to get involved in something at college, to seek out help from professors and professionals, and to talk to people in the world, chances are that you're going to find something that you love. It will take effort and patience. There will probably be things that you realize quickly you're not interested in, and things that you are infatuated with from day one.
The Times article gets at the same message by saying that some colleges have dropped the word "undecided" in favor of "exploratory". What a cool opportunity. If you're undecided, you have the chance to do some soul searching. You have the chance to figure out where you want to fit in. You're likely going to grow greatly in this search process, and you'll come out better informed about your future. You essentially have a blank slate. While that may be scary, you should try to see it as one of the best opportunities you've had. So, whether you've chosen a major out of chance or you're still figuring your decision out, now is your time to think about how you want to contribute to the world.
DePaul has an office to help. The Career Center
advisers at DePaul can provide guidance in your journey. Another approach could be to simply talk to other students. Ask them why they are studying what they are studying. You might share common interests. Or, you might find that they too aren't really sure. Either way, you can walk away with a better understanding of how your interests can translate into a major and future career.
Watch the video below about college majors: