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College Majors 101: How to Choose the Right Major for You

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Picking a major that could potentially influence the rest of your life can be daunting, so we’ve compiled a guide to the 10 most common majors to get you thinking about which could be the best fit. While there are many other majors out there that we highly encourage you to explore, this guide is meant to get you on the right track. If you do your research and think deeply about your personal strengths, interests and career goals, the decision should be slightly easier. Also, it’s always a good idea to schedule an appointment with an academic advisor prior to making a change to your major or even deciding to add on a second.

Major: Business Administration/Management
Perfect if you are: Outgoing, enjoy working in teams, a people person, comfortable working with numbers, an innate problem-solver
Examples of classes: Organizational behavior, marketing, business statistics, finance, economics, accounting, operations management, leadership
Potential careers: Entrepreneur, business manager, marketing researcher, management consultant, financial analyst
School with a standout undergraduate program for this major: University of Notre Dame

Major: Social Sciences/History
Perfect if you are: Interested in exploring human society, naturally inquisitive, a strong writer, a conceptual thinker, considering graduate school in the future
Examples of classes: Depending on the area you choose, classes can be taken in anthropology, archaeology, geography, law, political science, psychology and international studies
Potential careers: Positions in government, national security, lawyer, teacher, university professor, researcher, psychologist, a natural path to graduate school
School with a standout undergraduate program for this major: Harvard University

Major: Education
Perfect if you are: Confident you want to work as a teacher or in a school administrative role
Examples of classes: Teaching primary/secondary science and humanities, teaching skills and methods, technology in the classroom, learning theories and classroom practice, topics in urban education
Potential careers: Primary and secondary school teaching or administration
School with a standout undergraduate program for this major: Columbia University

Major: Psychology
Perfect if you are: Fascinated by how the mind works and how people make decisions, open to diverse career paths, considering graduate school
Examples of classes: Cognitive processes, learning and memory, developmental psychology, neuroscience, social psychology, childhood and adolescent development, human behavior
Potential careers: Psychologist, counselor, consumer and market research, labor relations/human resources, various administration, research and management positions
School with a standout undergraduate program for this major: Stanford University

Major: Communications/Journalism
Perfect if you are: A strong writer, passionate about telling stories and following the news, naturally outgoing and well-spoken
Examples of classes: Communication and mass media, interpersonal communication, American media and entertainment industries, news writing, online media technologies, feature writing, writing magazine non-fiction
Potential careers: News reporter, broadcast journalist, magazine writer, editorial positions, business or technical copywriter, various positions in public relations/marketing and in the entertainment industry
School with a standout undergraduate program for this major: Northwestern University

Major: Biology/Biomedical Sciences
Perfect if you are: Avid about pursuing a career in the medical field, seriously considering going to medical school
Examples of classes: General and advanced biology, microbiology, physiology, neuroscience, molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry
Potential careers: Doctor (numerous disciplines), dentist, pharmacist, medical assistant, biological researcher, veterinarian, science teacher, marine biologist
School with a standout undergraduate program for this major: University of Chicago – Illinois

Major: Nursing
Perfect if you are: Confident that you want to pursue a career in nursing
Examples of classes: Pharmacology, biology, statistics, nursing ethics, clinical care, health promotion, nursing care of children and the elderly, leadership and management in nursing
Potential careers: Hospital nurse, office nurse, home health nurse, occupational health nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse midwife
School with a standout undergraduate program for this major: University of Washington – Seattle

Major: Computer Science
Perfect if you are: A lover of computers and technology, interested in digital media and programming, a critical, logical thinker
Examples of classes: Introduction to computers and programming, various programming languages courses, enterprise architecture frameworks, data structures and algorithms, operating systems, internet software development
Potential careers: Software engineer, computer and information systems managers, database administrator, computer specialist, video game designer
School with a standout undergraduate program for this major: Yale University

Major: English
Perfect if you are: Passionate about reading and writing, a literature enthusiast, strong critical thinker, adept with words
Examples of classes: Fiction writing, poetry writing, various selections in English literature and American literature, English drama, other literatures (African American, Asian American, Chicano and Latino)
Potential careers: Writer/author, journalist, technical writer, copywriter, teacher, lawyer, public relations expert, business communications specialist, research analyst
School with a standout undergraduate program for this major: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Major: Engineering
Perfect if you are: Interested in solving the world’s problems, a math whiz, analytical, an out-of-the-box thinker
Examples of classes: Depending on what engineering discipline you choose, coursework can be taken in electrical, civil, marine, chemical, software, systems, information and industrial engineering
Potential careers: Engineer in various disciplines, technology or operations management consultant
School with a standout undergraduate program for this major: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Sources: Business Week, Education-Portal.com, U.S. News & World Report Rankings

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