5 Surprising Myths About Choosing a Major

Myth #1: Most people know their college major as high school seniors.

Some people go to college knowing exactly what they want, others don’t have a clue.
Most typically, college students only have a vague idea about majors when they start. A major is your area of specialization. Your college curriculum will be comprised of core or general education classes, electives (anything goes courses), and your major—the department where you’ll concentrate most of your credit hours.

Myth #2: Your college major will dictate your career.

Your major CAN determine your career choice. Or you may end up doing something completely different. (According to the U.S. Department of Labor, people change career fields two or three times in their lives.) For example, let’s say you major in English. You might decide to teach high school, attend law school, write the great American novel, or take a job in a large corporation—or all of the above. As a biology major you could work in a lab, conduct research, apply to graduate, medical, veterinary or dental schools, or start your own computer company. Who knows? Life is flexible.

Myth #3: I should choose my major first semester, freshman year.

In most cases, don’t sweat it. Most schools don’t ask you to look at a major until sometime during your sophomore year. (Certain majors, however, like engineering and accounting, have so many requirements that unless you declare early, you may not graduate in time.)
If you are undecided, take a wide variety of classes. Visit your college career/counseling center. Talk to your advisor. See what you like. College is the perfect time to test the waters and try lots of new things.

Myth #4: When I declare my major, I’m locked in.

Nope. Colleges and universities understand that it is a student’s prerogative to change his or her mind. It’s usually quite easy to change your major. But if you do it too often, it may take you longer to graduate.

Myth #5: I can only choose one major.

Most schools allow you to double major, triple major, or design your own program. Other universities even offer programs where you can get a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in five years.