From One SA Pro to Another: The Rush to Choosing A Major

Have you ever had a student who is worried about choosing a major?

With the start of an academic year, we also see a start to the frenzy involved in declaring a major. Many students get caught up in the weight of this decision.  A recent New York Times article, “Four Steps to Choosing A College Major,” outlined the stress involved in this big life-altering choice, and provided some helpful ways to direct some of that concern in a more productive direction.

To quote the article:

After 15 years of talking to everyone from CEOs to camel ranchers, what we’ve learned is comforting: Most people are unsure when they’re starting out. Where they end up isn’t a direct result of their major; it’s the result of a meandering process. Their major — whether they stuck with it or applied it in new ways — was the start of channeling their interests, values and skills into work that made the struggles and hard work it took to get there worth it.”

This article shares some great tips to dig into  values, skills and interests, and pair each tip with with real-life examples of people who’ve found success. The tips included:

  • Separate your goals from other peoples’ goals for you
  • Forget passion; follow an interest
  • Put your decisions in real-world context
  • …And yes, you do have to be good at it

How can you use this article in a meeting with a stressed out student? You might send this article to a student to begin the conversation – or simply use some of the ideas to guide an interaction with a nervous student at the beginning of the school year.

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