How to Choose a Major

Six Ways for How to Choose a Major for College

There are several approaches you can use to choose a major for college.  The approach you use depends on your values.  In other words, what is most important to you about going to college.

When we talk about values and importance we are in fact talking about criteria.  A criterion is standard for judging things.  It’s like a yardstick or measuring tool that you use as a  gauge or condition to be met when making a decision or judgment about something.  In this case, the decision is about how to choose a major to pursue in college.

Learn How to Choose a Major Here because college is coming soon

Need to Choose a Major because College is Starting Soon? Learn How to Choose a Major Here

Some people simply choose to take a college major test, but employing a combination of these approaches will yield more satisfactory results for you than any college major test ever could.  Why?  Because most college major tests cannot factor in all of the criteria that are important to you and factor them in with the right amount of importance.  For instance, while earnings might be important to you, you might value employment after college and the college experience slight higher.

All of the possible factors you might use to choose a major are presented here along with useful resources to help you find the information you’ll need.

We will identify the possible criteria or yardsticks for how to choose a major for college in the form of questions.  There are six criteria questions for how to choose a major. Let’s look at each one of them.

Choose a Major Criteria #1: What majors are available at the college I’ve chosen?

This yardstick for how to choose a major is founded on the assumption that the college experience and environment are most important to you.  The career you eventually end up in are secondary factors of importance or not important at all. This is often the approach of persons who have a short time frame orientation, will be able to live off of a trust fund, or just expect that a career will be there when they graduate from college.

This is a simple approach to choose a major.  You simply look at the offerings of the college of your choice and find the major that appeals to you the most.  It is often best to use the courses that you like in high school as a guide.  Choose a college major that offers more of the type of courses that you liked best in high school.

Choose a Major Criteria #2:  Which college majors have the highest earning potential?

This yardstick for how to choose a major is founded on the assumption that finding a career which enables  you to earn the most money is of vital importance.  Finding a career you enjoy the most is, therefore, a secondary consideration or not important at all.  This approach is more time consuming than the first.  It requires that you do some online research.

Here are some terms that you can use to search for the best paying college majors: High-Paying College Majors ; Top 20 Best College Majors ; Highest Paid Majors ; 15 Top Paying Majors ; Best Degrees 2013.  If you are not pleased with any of the majors listed as the top paying college majors, you can search under two other terms:  Worst-Paying College Majors ; Best Non Engineering Majors . You see, most high paying college majors are engineering majors so searching for best non-engineering majors is important if engineering is not “in the cards” for you.  Or you simply might want to choose a major that at a minimum does not fall among the worst paying majors.


Choose a Major Criteria #3: Which major offers the greatest potential of landing a job after graduation?

This college major test criterion is similar to the previous one.  The assumption is based on the importance of finding a job after graduation not just a high paying one.  For persons that use this criterion in choosing a college major it is critical that they will be hired into a job and have a secure employment future.  Like the previous criterion, the one also requires that you search online for the more recent data for employment statistics associated with college majors.

Here are some terms you can use to search for Employment by College Major ; Best Majors to Get Jobs ; College Majors and Careers ; Employment Rates by College Major ; 10 Best Majors for Employment.  You might also consider searching online using these terms 2013 Best College Majors or Best Majors for Careers.  The reason you might choose to search for a major using the work “best” is that employment statistics are often factored into what would be considered a best major in college.


Choose a Major Criterion #4: Which major fits my interests and abilities best?

This college major test criterion is based on the assumption that if I find a major that I like I will likely find a career that I will also like.  It doesn’t so much focus on the career, but on finding a major that I like.  It is different from the first in that it isn’t focused as much on the college experience but on enjoying the courses during your time at college.

Like the first college major test criterion, you could choose a major that offer courses like those that you liked most in high school, but you probably need to broaden your criteria for what you like beyond just high school classes.  You should consider answering the following types of interest questions to determine the kind of college major you’d enjoy the most: What do I like to do in my spare time?   What topics appeal to me the most?  What school subject do I enjoy studying the most?  Answers to these questions will help you choose a major based on what you enjoy or like.

To choose a major based on your abilities you’ll need to ask yourself a different set of questions: What subjects am I best at?  What activities do I naturally do well at?  What are my strengths?  Answers to these questions will help you choose a major based on your abilities.  Combining the results will help you choose a major that you will enjoy and be good at.

Another way to answer this question is to complete an ability and interest career test that offers a college major profile.  There are two such career tests or career test packages I’d recommend.  The COPSystem3 is an inexpensive career test package that offers a list of college majors for specific careers or career fields based on your interests, abilities and values.  Take a look at a sample of the career report.  The other career test package is more comprehensive and therefore more costly.  It used the results of the best career interest test and best career ability test on the market today – Strong Interest Inventory combined with Highlands Ability Battery.  See options here.

Choose a Major Criterion # 5: What major suits my personality?

This college test major criterion is based on the assumption that you are a unique individual with a unique personality and that you should choose a major that suited personality most closely to find a meaningful way to contribute in the world of work.  There are no set of questions that you can ask yourself which will help you decipher your unique personality traits and how they intersect with college majors.

If this is a critical criterion for choosing a college major, it will be necessary for you to take a career personality test.  Not all personality test offer career information and even less offer college major data.  The only career test I can recommend that offers a college major list does so along with career information.  It is College Career Test -Strong and MBTI Career Test + Myers Briggs Personality Type Expanded.  There is a similar personality test that offers college success information: MBTI® College Test / Personality Test for College.  Another option is MBTI®  College Student Success Test + 3 College Success  Tips Myers Briggs® books.

Choose a Major Criterion #6:  What major will best prepare me for my chosen career?

This college test major criterion is based on the assumption that the purpose for going to college is to prepare yourself for a specific career that you have identified for yourself.  The way to best answer this criterion question is to invest in choosing the right career for yourself.  By far, the best way to do this is to take a comprehensive career testing package that offers extensive career consultations to address any other factor, typically values, life stage, lifestyle, and expectations, not measurable by a career test.

One of the very best career testing packages available to students today is OPTIM’s Career and College Success Tests + College Career Services.  I highly recommend this package for the purpose of most quickly and most accurately identifying the most suitable career for your future.

Related Articles:

How to Choose a College Major

Using Career Testing to Choose a Major

Best Career Tests for Choosing a Major

Using Career Testing to Choose a College

Why Choose a College to Get a Job?

Choose a College to Visit

About OPTIM Dev

Our mission at OPTIM Development Systems is to provide the best tools and key services to help individuals realize their potential in their careers and in life.
This entry was posted in Career Anchors, Career Interest Test, Career Personality Test, Career Tests, Choosing A College, College Career Testing, College Major, College Tips, College/High School, How to Choose A College, How to Choose a College Major, Interest Tests, MBTI, MBTI College Personality Test, Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Personality Tests, Test Name, Test Type, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.