The Ultimate Quest: Picking a Major

By: Emily Myers

Coming into college, some people immediately know what major they intend to pursue, some are not so sure and others think they know what major they want to earn and then end up changing their minds. Deciding on a major can be incredibly stressful. After all, the major you choose does, to some extent, begin the path to your career. Is it even possible to make such an important decision?

The first thing to remember is that a chosen major should bring out your inner nerd.  It needs to inspire passion, spark interest and promote happiness. Without these things, you will find it dull and difficult to study for classes and your future career will probably end up an unrewarding one. Even though other people — be they your parents, older siblings or career counselors — may be pushing a different major because it leads to more “success,” your major will ultimately determine your life. Only you know what will make you happiest, and that happiness is essential to your future success.


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That being said, there will probably be classes that are difficult no matter which major you choose. You should not necessarily change your major because you find the coursework difficult. Rather, you should decide whether or not you think your future career is worth the effort or if you will be miserable doing similar work in the future. If you find that to be the case, give some thought to finding a major that leads to the careers you think are worth the extra effort and you could see yourself enjoying in the future. The first major you pick does not necessarily have to be the major with which you choose to stay. If you do decide to change majors, visit the offices of the area of study you are interested in, speak to someone about the requirements for the major and look at what the courses offered on the University bulletin (

If you are worried about finding a job in your area of interest, many resources exist which can guide you in discovering available, compatible jobs. One such University resource is the Career Center ( They also have an office on the second floor of Clark Howell Hall on the University’s main campus. Visiting either the Center’s website or office will provide information on internships, part-time and full-time jobs in your area of interest and what you can do with different majors.

And specifically for those you interested in medical school: the type of major you pursue is not a determining factor in your acceptance now. You do not have to major in biology, chemistry or genetics to get accepted. Most importantly, you should to take the classes that will help you do well on the MCAT (the PreMed orientation session, your academic advisor and the PreMed Magazine website – will tell you what classes these are) and to choose a major that is challenging but in which you will do well. Both doctors and other individuals who work in medical school admissions offices have said that medical school admissions boards like to see unique majors on applications. However, if you do love the biology, chemistry or other hard sciences, a major in one of these fields will not prevent you from being accepted. Remember, the road to medical school is long and difficult and choosing a major you enjoy will make the journey a better one.