How Do I Choose My College Major?

Some students worry about whether their decision about their undergraduate major will have future consequences and affect opportunities for graduate school or job and career.

Put more specifically (for those looking ahead to grad school), the question is whether a particular major will make you more – or less – competitive when applying to graduate programs. Does it matter?

Well, worry no more. Although it’s true that a certain level of content knowledge is needed to meet pre-requisite requirements and to perform well on standardized tests, many graduate programs don’t require — or even make a priority of — specific majors.

In fact, many program websites make a point of mentioning that their cohorts are comprised of students with a broad range of majors. It would seem that academic diversity is prized as much as ethnic/cultural diversity. What graduate schools care about most is attracting students with the intellectual capabilities required to be successful in rigorous graduate programs — qualities reflected in undergraduate GPAs from all majors and from standardized testing.

What’s important is to do well in your undergraduate courses, which means that you have complete freedom to pursue whatever field brings you the greatest satisfaction and enjoyment. Of course, it’s always good to look ahead and be aware of the pre-requisites you’ll need, so it’s best to make a considered decision as to whether to incorporate them into your undergraduate course of study or take them as post-graduate courses. You shouldn’t be afraid, however, that the boat will pass you by if you don’t commit from the outset to specific courses relating to your probable career choice. The undergraduate years can be an enjoyable time of exploration, and there’s no reason to cheat yourself of an exciting and broad-ranged academic experience.