Over 150! ? – Advice on Picking a Major

150 + is a lot of majors. In fact, that is almost too many choices, especially when you are just getting started in your college search. Today we talk about how to pick what your academic interests might be.

Obviously the most fun way to do this is online quizzes. And I am not going to lie, I feel like some of them have some good points. I do like to be a go-getter, I would like to believe I seek social justice, and I SHOULD TOTALLY be a secret agent! Others, perhaps a little less so … an accountant? Probably not.

Personally, I think things like that can be great at getting you thinking, but remember you can’t be boiled down to one page of random pictures.

Shocking, but orange flower, amber, colorful bird, croissant, black dot doesn’t equal my secret-agent future.

So how do you really pick? My advice is to start with the basics.

What classes do you like now?  If you don’t like physics, engineering probably isn’t going to be a good fit.

What do you already know about your likes and dislikes that can help narrow your field? If spending time with more than three kids you aren’t related to drives you nuts, you probably don’t want to be an elementary school teacher.

Talk to people who know you well. When I went to college I started as an Education major. Everyone I knew said I would be a great teacher. That is how I picked my first major (notice I said “first;” the great part about college is you still get to change your mind after you are here).

Most importantly, keep an open mind and ask LOTS of questions. For example, talk to an admissions counselor. If you come to me and mention you are interested in medicine, I am probably going to mention a few things: first, the pre-med track, then programs like Health Planning and Administration and Health Education and Promotion, and Food Science & Human Nutrition. Things that, if you aren’t familiar with the majors on campus, you wouldn’t know about.

Another useful tool? Your myIllini Account! If you select different areas of academic interest in the Academic Information section of your profile, we will send you targeted information from related programs. So that Financial Planning program that you wouldn’t have found on your own? It ends up right in your inbox. Pretty convenient.

Final thought. The honest answer to “What do I want to be when I grow up?” is that you may never know for sure what you want to be when you grow up. Thankfully, college is about giving you the tools to learn more about yourself. Use them, and there is no telling where you will end up.


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May 19, 2017, 3:45 am

Keep an open mind and ask LOTS of questions.



May 19, 2017, 1:21 pm

Exactly, Patricia! Spoken like a pro! 😉