So you're 19 years old, and your academic advisor is telling you that you have to declare a major. It's a decision which, in the current economy, could have a huge impact (or a negligible one) on the rest of your life. If you're still exploring your options as it relates to a career path, it might be easy to feel overwhelmed, but don't panic — there are some majors for students who don't know what to do after college that will still give you a leg up professionally as you try to settle on a path that is right for you.
First and foremost, do not put too much weight on this one decision. And don't major in something just because your mom, dad, cousin, or mailman told you to. The most important thing to consider when choosing a major, in my experience, is simple: Will this field of study allow me to continue to expand my horizons and explore my own mind without totally souring any and all interest I have in the subject?
Choosing a major is not like choosing a partner, or even choosing a pet. Your major will definitely color your college experience, but it won't define it. Considering that you're brave enough to accept that you're not 100 percent sure about your professional future right now, you should be looking to learn as much about yourself and the world as possible during the next few years (50 points to Gryffindor!). Honestly, if you know what you want to do with the rest of your life before you're 30, you're ahead of the pack — so at 19, you're in decent shape if you know how you like your eggs cooked.
Here are some majors for you adventurous souls who are still open to lots of different career paths.
English majors get a bad rap, but honestly, can you think of a better way to soak up the adventures of others than through the pages of a great book? Let the literature inspire you! Also, you'll be shocked at how many entry-level jobs there are reserved for people with flawless grammar and a solid handle on the lost art of makin' sentences.
2. Public Policy
Public policy is one of those magical majors that has a bazillion different specialties. Using this major as a springboard, you can set yourself up for a stint in law school, a career in climate science advocacy, or as an analyst for a Fortune 500 company. Your interview skills and ability to think on your feet will be highly developed, to be sure.
Nothing says "hire me" more than a keen understanding of the inner-workings of the minds of potential customers and investors. If you're leaning toward a career in medicine, focus on neuroscience for an extra boost.
In the age of social media and the 24-hour news cycle, a degree in communications can take you far. My school didn't have a communications major, but most do. So if you see yourself as a creator of any kind of high-quality content — be it written, video, or even radio — majoring in communications might be the right place for you.
If you're more scientifically inclined, a major in biology can be extremely relevant in many fields. From pharmaceutical research and sales, to biomedical engineering, to medicine (both human and veterinary), anyone working in an industry created for making lives better with science needs an in-depth understanding of the biologies of plants and animals.
No matter what you decide, your major is just one of many important decisions you will make over the course of your college career. Keep that in mind when you see your academic future laid out in front of you. As all of us old, sagely grads will tell you: You learn just as much, if not more, outside of the classroom as you do in your lectures and seminars.
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