Exploring Different Major Options: A Guide for Deciding Students

October 12, 2023
WPU Students at open house

Choosing a major is a significant decision during your college journey. It’s a choice that can shape your academic path and future career opportunities. However, it’s essential to remember that it’s perfectly normal to be undecided about your major when you start college. In fact, Kasha Kilinegores, an academic and career advisor at William Peace University (WPU), emphasizes, “It’s completely normal to still be figuring out what you want to major in.”

While the word “crucial” is often associated with choosing a major, Kasha hesitates to use it because it can create undue pressure. Instead, she highlights the importance of taking the time to explore different options, interests, and career paths. Your college years are an ideal time to delve into your passions and discover where they might lead you.

Understanding the Importance of Choosing a Major

Selecting a major is more than just picking a field of study; it’s about identifying your interests and skills and aligning them with your future goals. As Kasha notes, “With majors and career paths, what we talk to students about is that there doesn’t always have to be a straight pathway from one to the other.” 

Your journey can take various routes, and it’s essential to develop transferable skills that can apply to different careers. That’s why WPU offers comprehensive professional development curriculum, known as PDS classes. These classes are designed to support you regardless of your major. Kasha highlights their significance, stating, “No matter what your major is, they help you articulate your skills and experiences and then use critical thinking to apply those to your future.”

Self-Reflection and Assessment

Self-reflection is a crucial part of the decision-making process. Kasha advises, “Reflect on what you’ve enjoyed learning about in the past.” Think about your favorite high school classes and why you enjoyed them. This can offer insights into potential majors that may be a good fit for you. 

Similarly, consider classes you didn’t enjoy as much and why, as this can help rule out some options. WPU offers tools to aid in this self-assessment journey like Focus2, which is a career platform where you can take various assessments that students get free access to. These assessments can provide valuable insights into potential majors and career paths.

In addition to self-reflection, Kasha highlights the value of trial and error especially with internships which offer a real-world glimpse into potential careers. Kasha notes, “A lot of people realize they don’t want to do something based on it.”  

It’s okay not to have all the answers immediately. College is a time to try different things and gain clarity about your interests, dislikes, and future possibilities. The upcoming annual engagement fair, Purpose@Peace, is an excellent event for exploring opportunities based on your interests, both on and off campus.

Moreover, the university emphasizes immersive learning, providing students with hands-on experiences in various subject areas. Kasha explains, “Immersive learning prepares students for a variety of different paths. Getting to actually do hands-on things in a particular subject area can help you narrow down if that’s something you’re interested in or want to learn more about.”

Exploring Academic Departments

WPU offers a diverse range of majors across various academic departments. From business degrees to fine arts degrees, from the sciences and humanities to technical majors like simulation and game design, there’s a wide array of options to choose from. 

Consider exploring the university’s interdisciplinary studies program, where you can customize a major to align with your specific interests. 

Learn more about WPU’s Undergraduate Degrees and Minors here.

Seek Guidance and Advice

When you’re unsure about your major, seeking guidance and advice is essential. Kasha emphasizes the uniqueness of WPU’s Academic and Career Advising department, “You don’t have to go to an academic advisor to talk about potential majors and then go to a career advisor to talk about potential careers—you can talk about it all in one place.

 Students don’t think in offices, students think in their experience. ‘It’s my college experience. It’s my major, my career, my future.’ And so to them, that’s one entity. So having these combined services, a one-stop shop type of thing can be really helpful.”

Additionally, the office is continuously improving its services to better assist students in choosing their majors. Kasha mentions, “The office of academic and career advising is currently working on new 4-year plans following the 4-credit curriculum roll-out.” These 4-year plans outline the courses needed for each major by semester, serving as a structured roadmap to help students make the major selection process more manageable.

Making the Decision

The decision-making process involves a combination of self-reflection and seeking out resources. Reflect on your interests, and gather information from academic and career advisors, faculty members, friends, and family. Your college experience is a holistic journey, and the choice of major is just one aspect of it.

As you progress through college, you’ll naturally narrow down your options. Undeclared Ian Williams, a first-year student, shares his thoughts on the process, noting that deciding on a major “can be intimidating because the whole world is in front of you going to college, and having a major declared can make you feel better.” 

Williams, however, will not allow the intimidation to rush his decision, saying, “My advisor has stressed that I will not suffer from being undecided as a first-year. I would much rather wait to choose a major and career path than choose something that I do not love doing for a living.” Williams is excited to explore who he is and find what he loves doing while at WPU.

Kasha advises, “When you feel ready, come talk to us and declare a major. You’re not locked in, and you can always change it.” WPU’s flexible curriculum allows you to explore different paths and make informed decisions. The path to discovering your major and future career is uniquely yours at WPU.

Connect with an Academic and Career advisor here.