Tips For Choosing a Major
When you check the little box for choosing a major during college application time… Let’s admit it… most of us don’t really have a clue what major we would like best, much less what these kinds of courses are like in college. Whether you end up changing your major like I did or sticking with something you love, I hope my advice helps you discover a major you really enjoy!
Tell your advisor what your career plans are…
Even if you aren’t sure or have 20 things you are thinking about majoring in, you need to speak up. Your advisor knows all the little nuances of different major requirements that you might have missed. Remember, it is their job to help you, but they can not do the best job they can without you telling them what your goals are.
Thinking about going to a health professional school or majoring in some sort of science/math/engineering?
If you are even BARELY thinking about going to some sort of professional school or majoring in some sort of qualitative field, tell your advisor! I can not emphasize this enough. For some majors (especially mine of molecular and cellular biology), u need to get started your first semester your freshman year with some sort of science. Whether it’s chemistry or biology or both, it doesn’t matter. Taking more than two science classes in a semester is a bad idea in my opinion, and I think that many advisors would agree. You don’t want to be playing catch up!
Check out the Division of General Studies
The Division of General Studies (also known as DGS) works with incoming students who aren’t exactly sure what they should major in. These students were not afraid to say “undecided” on their application, and I have to say – they were smart. Now they have a whole team of expert advisors who are nationally ranked in their skills to help college students discover the right career for them. For those of you that are in DGS, take full advantage of having a whole staff dedicated to helping you finding your right path. For those of you who aren’t, I bet you they wouldn’t turn you away if you requested an appointment. 😉 That’s what I would do!
Take a wide variety of classes
I wouldn’t have discovered my major if I didn’t keep an open mind come registration time. You will be much better off if you choose to dab a little bit into the subjects you are interested in along with your major courses. You’ll only really know your best fit when you are in a lecture hall and the time flies by…. And you’ll get the most chances to experience this feeling if you take a wide variety of classes.
And remember, your major isn’t everything
Yes, choosing a major is important. Yet this is only a small piece of the puzzle that employers and graduate schools will be looking at when you are an upperclassman at Illinois. They will care exponentially more about the kind of things you learned outside the classroom like communication skills, working with those who think differently than you, and contributing to your community. For example, in none of my medical school interviews did any one care what my major was. In fact, often times the interview was blind, meaning that the medical school admissions board had never even seen my academic record and wanted to get to know who I was outside of school. In short, your major should just be a minor piece of your overall Illinois experience!