3Rivers Blog

3 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Choose a College Major

Posted on Thursday, April 18, 2019

There are some extensive guides to choosing a college major – shelves of books, Google’s 2.1 billion search results, and for-hire counselors all provide unique methods. We’ve even got other blog posts on the topic!

Image source: Shutterstock.com / Photographer: GaudiLab

The thing is, choosing a major doesn’t have to be complicated, and certainly doesn’t need to cost you money.

Asking yourself these tree questions can help you identify some great options:

  1. What problem do you want to solve?
  2. What is your role in solving that problem?
  3. Can you support yourself financially doing this?

What problem do you want to solve?

Knowing what’s wrong is the first step in making it better. If you are passionate about something, do it.

The secret of this question is that most majors – Business, Chemistry, or Art, for example – aren’t problems. They’re plans of study that provide specific knowledge and skills. “Businesses don’t know how to hire good employees” is a problem. So are “paint fumes are bad for workers” and “people with certain disabilities may have trouble expressing themselves”.

The fun part about the “problem” question is that the answer changes with time. As students become more understanding of their field, new problems will arise to address. If you’re not sure of the answer yet, begin exploring. Job shadowing, career fairs, and talking with professionals should all be on your to-do list!

What is your role?

Our first question addresses external factors (what is wrong with the world). We need some internal insight to complete the conversation, so we turn to self-assessment. What are you good at? How do you best interact with people? What are your strengths?

Free assessments like 16 Personalities can help you identify strengths and weaknesses without much commitment – just providing honest answers. High school guidance counselors have access to more in-depth tests. Ask for help identifying what you’re good at – teachers, parents, and mentors are all great resources!

Choose a major that not only fits the problem, but also fits your personality.

Can you support yourself financially doing this?

Passion about a subject should be key motivator in choosing a major. Money needs to be a consideration, too.

Imagine life after college graduation. What will your life look like? Answer the fun questions! Where do you live? How do you get to and from work? What fun activities do you do weekly? Do you have kids or pets? What do you spend money on?

Also answer the tough questions. Did you need to borrow student loans to finish college? Do you have enough money saved to handle life events? What does your financial support system look like?

These answers need balanced with income. If you’re unsure what professionals in your career make, visit www.mynextmove.org. Can you afford a lifestyle that you’ll love making a salary close to this?

The exciting part about this conversation is that YOU are in control. You can choose to tackle what is wrong with the world. You can also choose how you will help.

If you’d like to talk through your college career and funding plans, we’d be glad to listen and offer our assistance. Please contact us anytime!