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How do I get over major decide-phobia?

QUESTION: I am experiencing decide-phobia. I can't choose a major. Should I choose according to the subjects I like or is it better to choose according to my career goals? How do I know that I have what it takes for a major? Is there a way to get a feel for my future major other than visiting colleges and taking courses? Signed, Major Indecision

Dear Major Indecision: If there is a single crucial decision to make in college, it is selecting a major. For some students, the selection can be excruciating and a wrong choice can mean an extra summer or even extra year of college.

To select your major, ask yourself questions like: What are your career goals? What have others who are in the field studied? In which areas do you excel? How strong is the department in which you are considering majoring?

Ideally you can select a major that is in a subject that you enjoy and that matches with your career goals. These two often go hand in hand. For example, if you want to become a journalist, you'll probably want to major in a field like journalism or English, which you should enjoy. Ask those who work in the field if you will be at a disadvantage if you select an atypical major. If your career goals don't match your major, this may signify that your career goals are not the best fit.

As you've pointed out, the best way to know if you are fit for a major and to get a feel for it is to visit colleges and take courses in the area. If you can't do this, at least speak with an advisor in the department and ask for the names of students you can contact to ask questions.

With a little bit of introspection and research, you'll be well on your way toward getting over your major decide-phobia.

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Gen & Kelly Tanabe

Gen and Kelly Tanabe are the founders of SuperCollege and the award-winning authors of 11 books on college admission, financial aid and scholarships. Together they were accepted to all of the Ivy League colleges and won more than $100,000 in merit-based scholarships to graduate from Harvard debt-free.