Myths About Majors

“Everyone else knows what to major in.”

Actually, this is far from the truth.  Many students begin college without a clear choice of major.  The process of exploring majors and deciding on the one that’s right for you can be one of the best experiences you can have in college.  And even students who enter college having chosen a major are likely to change their mind at some point.  In fact, research indicates that as many as 75% of students who enter college having declared a major will change their mind at least once.

“All jobs and careers require specific majors.”

Many students think there is a direct relationship between their future career and their college major.  But there are very few majors that translate directly into one specific job or career. In most cases, there is not one specific major required to enter a career field.  Employers, who are hiring graduating seniors, look for well-rounded individuals with good transferrable skills and relevant experience (you get part of that well rounded quality from your core courses!).  Of course, there are some professional fields that do have qualifying or licensing requirements; for these, a student may have to select a certain major.  Examples include nursing, accounting, and education.  Remember, most fields allow for considerable flexibility!

“The major I choose now will be what I do for the rest of my life.”

Not necessarily; that’s really up to you and the interests you develop.  Rather than commit you to a path you cannot change, your bachelor’s degree shows employers that you have honed the writing, analytical, and thinking skills that are at a premium in the career world and are relevant to a wide range of areas.

“Once I decide a major, I cannot change my mind and major in something else.”

Many students change majors.  This makes sense, since the courses you take in college may expose you to new things, which can change your interests and, in turn, your major.  In fact, liberal arts programs encourage exploration (that’s the core curriculum)!  “I am taking courses in the core curriculum that have nothing to do with the major I’m thinking about.”

Although you may not realize it at first, these courses do relate to your major and your career preparation as well.  The core courses emphasize the foundation skills you will need in any job or in any career.  They also give you the opportunity to expand what you already know.  Well-rounded applicants, those with a broad knowledge background and a range of interests, are more confident and more attractive to professional recruiters and future colleagues.