College of Education and Human Development

School of Kinesiology

How to choose a college major

Choosing a college major can be a big and intimidating decision. Your major will affect the career field you go into, the connections you make, and your future lifestyle. This decision can feel even harder when there are too many options and you do not know where to start. Many students feel nervous or unsure about finding their path, but research and reflection can help you choose a major more easily.

Below are helpful tips and things to remember when you are exploring what you would like to major in. 

Tips to determine your major

Explore your interests and passions

Exploring your interests and passions is a great first step to figuring out your major. Start with what you know interests you. What have you enjoyed learning about in the past? What do you like to do in your free time?  Choosing something that you truly enjoy will keep you fulfilled, engaged, and help avoid burnout. If you aren’t sure what you’re interested in, try attending a few different student group meetings or taking career exploration quizzes to get more ideas. 

Know your strengths and weaknesses

Consider the things you're good at and what parts of a major might not be the best fit for you. Take a look at your academic history; make note of any subject areas or topics you excelled at more than others, or those you enjoyed the most. Also, think about what types of classes were perhaps more challenging or not as stimulating for you. 

Your personality traits can also help guide you to what area of study or career might work best for you. Do you enjoy interacting with people? Do you do well in a fast paced environment? Do you like a set or spontaneous schedule? Figure out your unique traits and what areas might align best with them.

Talk to others

It’s helpful to get another opinion and insight into your options. Your advisor will be able to give you valuable information and resources on a potential major, future career options, and other opportunities at your school. Your family and friends who know you well may be helpful in offering advice or recommendations for what they think would be a good fit for you. You can also talk to someone who has a career or is studying the area you are interested in. They can tell you about their personal experience and any tips they may have for someone entering that field. 

Consider future opportunities

Looking at your future prospects is important for every student. Explore online job boards, see what kind of jobs are available for different areas of study, and take note of which one's interest you the most. Consider the growth, earning potential, demand, and certain educational requirements for the different careers you are interested in. 

Evaluate the pros and cons of a major

Making a pros and cons list is a great way to organize your thoughts and to compare your options side by side. For each major you are interested in, write down all the advantages and disadvantages, such as time commitment, job opportunities, your interest level etc. If you lay out all your thoughts physically, it will be easier to sort through them and make decisions.

What to remember when exploring majors

Changing your mind is normal and okay

If you start taking classes in a major and decide that it might not be the best fit for you, don’t worry. It is easy to change your major and many students switch their paths at some point throughout their college career. Your major choice does not have to define the rest of your life either. Many people will end up with great careers in a completely different field than they studied. It’s also normal to take some time away from school to reevaluate your goals if you need to. 

Don't choose based only on income

While income is certainly an important factor when choosing your future career goals and plans, if you're able, try not to choose an area of study based solely on the possibility of higher income. Burnout and frustration can come much quicker and easier if you choose something you do not truly enjoy doing. 

Make your own decision

You may feel pressure from your family or friends to pursue a certain path, and while these people can also offer great advice, the choice is ultimately yours. Do not let other people persuade you into doing something that does not fit your interests, personality, or goals. You know yourself best.  

Choosing a major may feel scary, but taking your time and utilizing these tips will help you gain more confidence about your future plans, and help you find a path that fits your interests and keeps you fulfilled.

The School of Kinesiology offers several different majors for you to choose from, including sport management, physical activity and health promotion, and kinesiology. Check out our undergraduate programs to see if these are a good fit for you.

We’ve also laid out potential career options related to our sport management, physical activity and health promotion, and kinesiology programs, so you can see if our majors will put you on the right path.