“Determining Your Future:”A Guide to Selecting a College Major
by Ashley Lynch and Victoria Heaphy
Medicine? Business? Law? What will it be? So many choices, so little time. EHHS upperclassmen are currently faced with decisions regarding their college major and their future career path. Choosing a specific area of study can be a stressful task for many, as students find it difficult to narrow it down to a single topic. By exploring interests and using resources wisely, you can go about this selection in a much more trouble-free manner.
Deciding on a career path can be quite tough, so it is important that students take the time to examine all of the possible options. A college major should ultimately reflect an individual’s interests and strengths. It should also correspond with the possible occupation that one hopes to hold. For example, if one strives to become a lawyer in the future, they must find the pre-graduate major (such as economics or philosophy), that is best suited to guide them on that journey. Ms. Renee Seufert, a guidance counselor at EHHS, has aided many of her students through the college application process. In regard to what a student should look for when choosing an area of concentration, she mentioned, “Choosing a college major is a personal and individual decision and should take into account a variety of factors. This is why it’s never a good idea to make copycat decisions, where you pick something that your best friend is doing!” While it is beneficial to get a multitude of opinions, it is ultimately up to the students themselves to make the final decision.
Taking Advantage of Local Resources
One thing to keep in mind is that it is okay to be unsure. Choosing a major is far from an easy task, but making use of the resources that are available to you can definitely take some weight off of your shoulders. Research is key! There are a number of websites that help make the college application process that much easier, including Naviance. This service helps connect a student’s academic interests and achievements in order to suggest the best possible college/career alternatives for them. Not only does the site help students narrow down their options in terms of universities, but it also contains an amazing feature called the “Career Interest Profiler.” This self-assessment helps to identify the types of occupations best fit for the individual (i.e. artistic, social, investigative, etc.) and offers a list of corresponding careers. This quiz is a great place to start for students who are not sure where to begin. With these results in mind, the student can take the time to go more in-depth on each career and find the major they are most interested in!
A common concern amongst college-bound high schoolers is that they will end up choosing a major that they are not truly passionate about. One way to ensure that this does not happen is to take advantage of shadowing and internship opportunities. There are many local establishments that offer high school students the chance to fully immerse themselves into a given career by actually seeing what that job entails. This is a more hands-on approach and provides students with the ability to weigh the pros and cons of a given occupation prior to entering that field. EHHS Senior, Samantha Schlottman, is a huge advocate for shadowing prior to going to college. Samantha will be attending Quinnipiac University this fall and has decided to major in occupational therapy, after having worked alongside an occupational therapist (OT) in the school district. “Shadowing this OT helped my passion in this field to grow and it showed me that this is something I would be very happy to do for the rest of my life,” she shares. Students should definitely consider speaking with their teachers and administrators if they are interested in gaining experience in a given field; these individuals can help guide them in the right direction.
The best part about high school is that students can take courses that reflect their general interests. There are so many classes offered here at EHHS that allow students to explore a variety of career paths. For those interested in the medical field, Mrs. Martin’s HOSA program is the best place to start. Whether one chooses to participate in the after school chapter, or take a class with this program built-in, the chance to dive into the world of medicine is right at students’ fingertips. Additionally, EHHS works closely with the Educational Center for the Arts to offer students experiences specializing in music, theatre, dance, etc. The opportunities are nearly The best part about high school is that students can take courses that reflect their general interests. There are so many classes offered here at EHHS that allow students to explore a variety of career paths. For those interested in the medical field, Mrs. Martin’s HOSA program is the best place to start. Whether one chooses to participate in the after school chapter, or take a class with this program built-in, the chance to dive into the world of medicine is right at students’ fingertips. Additionally, EHHS works closely with the Educational Center for the Arts to offer students experiences specializing in music, theatre, dance, etc. The opportunities are nearly endless! EHHS students should take a very close look at the Program of Studies to guarantee that the courses they are taking throughout high school are the best options for their future.
It’s Okay to be Undecided
Many students feel pressured to choose a major before entering college. The countless number of career paths make it difficult for students to choose just one. However, registering as ‘undecided’ is not a rare action. Olivia DelBasso, a former EHHS student, currently attends the University of Connecticut in Stamford and has not declared a major. Olivia felt overwhelmed entering college, as she was unsure of what she wanted to study. “I didn’t want to choose a major just to say I had a major. I really have no idea what I want to do yet, and that’s fine. So, going in undecided was the best option for me,” she says. If students are unsure as to what they want to study, they should not rush to choose something. Olivia adds, “Most college students change majors 3 or 4 times, so I’ve given myself a little time to adapt to the feel of college classes and also to talk to college advisors who can help me make that decision when the time is right.” The only downside Olivia found about being undecided was not having a jump start on her career like other students. However, most freshmen take the same fundamental classes in their first years of college, so it is not crucial to decide a major early on. By applying to university as undecided, students are given the chance to explore a variety of careers during their first few semesters. This will ultimately shape their interests and help narrow their decisions later down the road.
Changing Your Mind
It is not uncommon for students to end up graduating with a different major than what they had chosen originally. Students may decide to switch their college major if they find one that is more fitting for their career path, or simply because they are more passionate about an entirely different subject. Cameron Cordaway, an EHHS alumni, currently attends the University of Connecticut in Storrs. She recently switched her major from chemistry to physiology and neurobiology because it put her in a better spot for success in becoming a pediatrician. Initially, Cameron believed that the process of switching her major would be difficult, though she was given great aid by her college advisors. “My advisor walked me through the process of switching on my laptop with me [...] I’m glad I met with her because she explained to me that my major won’t officially show on my transcript for a few weeks. She also helped me determine which courses I should take next semester to be on track and meet the requirements for my new major,” says Cameron. With guided assistance from UConn faculty members, Cameron was able to switch her major and better align herself with her career goals! This case is a perfect example of the fact that what you choose is not a permanent decision. Colleges understand that indecision is a real thing and that individual’s interests change over time.
In general, it is never too early to begin pondering what the right major for you will be. It is important that students keep an open mind and truly consider what they see themselves doing in the future. Parents, teachers, and peers are some of the best people to talk to make sure that you start off your journey on the right foot. In the meantime, though, keep in mind that college will be an experience you will never forget. No matter where you land, and what you end up doing, everything will fall into place as it is meant to!