Picking a Major: Advice for Students from Students

Ava Stockstad, Reporter

When coming to college, the obvious question a new student will be asked is: “What is your major?” For many, this question can be easily answered. However, there are a handful of students who are unsure of what degree they would like to pursue. Many students in college will feel pressure to pick a major, but the truth is, picking a major is a complicated thing. In case you are struggling with figuring out your academic path, some upperclassmen have advice for any students seeking some guidance.  

Commonly, students will struggle with finding a major that they feel suits their values, skills, and interests. University of North Dakota sophomore Rylee Metz advises undecided students to “focus on what makes them happy.” Metz says students should consider “finding a job they will be happy to wake up to and to pick a major that will lead into that.” When reflecting on her personal experience with finding a major she enjoyed Metz said, “I picked a major I was not excited about at first.” “Since then, I have made the decision to reconsider my major, so I can find something that makes me happy and excited for my future.”  

It is important to note that students do not need to shy away from changing their major if they feel another field might better suit them. Over 80% of students going to college will change their major at least once. If you find yourself questioning the major you have decided on, do not be afraid to consider other fields of study that might better suit you. With over 250 available academic programs at the University of North Dakota, there are many different programs to explore before you decide on what you want to pursue.  

For many, finding a major that makes them happy might seem easier said than done, but the secret behind discovering one’s interests does not have to be very complicated. Another sophomore, Liz Jacoby, reflects on the best way to find a major you will be content with. “Take classes you are interested in and then decide from there whether you can see yourself in that field,” Jacoby said. “Find your interests and align them with a major.” A fellow classmate of Liz’s – Kalynn Bohrer – put this concept into action. “I was a CNA for a while, and that experience is what helped me recognize I wanted to pursue nursing,” Bohrer said.    

There are many available opportunities to help expose college students to different career fields. For students considering the medical field, CNA jobs, medical internships, and part-time jobs at retirement homes and hospitals are common ways to delve deeper into the realities of a medical career. For something less time-consuming, there are dozens of clubs and organizations at UND that students can look into. Accounting Club is a great way for accounting majors to further confirm their interest in the subject. There is an Anesthesiology Interest Group students can join or even a Military Medicine Interest Group. Contrastingly, Future Educators of UND are open to anyone who wants to be involved in volunteer opportunities with kids. Exploring the UND Student Involvement website, students with all kinds of interests and hobbies – whether academic, cultural, or social – can find a club or organization that will fit them.  

Picking a major may seem like a daunting decision, but it is important for students to know that the choice does not have to be final. There are simple ways to approach it. By exposing yourself to possible interests in clubs, classes, and jobs, students can find a career field that gives them satisfaction. However, if you have decided on a major that you are not yet sure of, do not be afraid to reconsider. College is meant to be an experience of growth and learning, so do not feel inclined to drive yourself away from change. 

Ava Stockstad is a Dakota Student General Reporter. She can be reached at [email protected].