If narrowing down your college choices isn’t stressful enough, you also must figure out what to major in! Finding and declaring a major can be challenging, but it is a crucial steppingstone on our college journey. Luckily for you, colleges are designed to help you find your interests and develop the skills to turn your passions into a vocation. Need some tips? Here are a few thoughts from current students to the question “How do I declare a major?”
How do I determine what I’m interested in?
Figuring out what you are interested in is really the first step in deciding a major. Many colleges have general education courses to help you determine your strengths interests as you map out possible majors.
“It is okay to figure it out as you go,” said Alexa C., a middle childhood education major.
Students are also encouraged to talk with their advisor and meet with professionals at their school’s career center. High school students can also request meetings and visits with faculty and career center staff during their campus visits.
“Professors and advisors helped me feel prepared and comfortable with my decision,” said Jenia F., an art education major, who took advantage of these resources.
The career center will also have a variety of tools such as strengths finder and internship portals which are great tools for learning about career options.
Finally, if you have an idea of what department you may be interested in, schedule a meeting with the faculty chair. Learn more about the various path’s graduates from that department have pursued following graduation.
How am I assigned an advisor?
Students generally declare a major through an advising process for first-year students. Each university may go about this differently so be sure to find out what your school’s declaration process is. During your first-year, the department chair assigns a faculty member within the department as the advisor for each student. If you change majors, the registrar’s office gets the new advisor assignment from the department chair. Advisors will also be assigned to students who are undecided and haven’t determined their major.
Having an advisor is super important, but each student must take initiative of their own studies. Advisors help keep you on track to graduate with the necessary course requirements. They are helpful for getting plugged into internships and job opportunities related to your major.
Can I change majors?
With one word, yes! Students may change majors> or minors by notifying the registrar’s office. It is common for students to change their major as they discover what they enjoy and a get a feel for classes.
“I’ve changed my major three times since I’ve been in college,” said Gabe R., a business administration major, “so I would say when you first start school and need to declare a major, just find something you are somewhat interested in and start out broadly with that major.”
It is certainly okay to declare a new major, but remember when making the switch, course schedules and requirements may put you behind some of your peers.
What are concentrations?
A concentration is an area of focus within a major. Many majors don’t have officially designated concentrations, others have optional concentrations, and a few require that students complete a concentration. This is another factor that can help you decide which major you would like to commit to or area to specialize in.
At Bluffton University…
Bluffton University encourages students to choose a major that connects to their interests and career plans. However, a Bluffton degree provides a solid education for career paths not connected to specific majors. Many Bluffton students start out undecided but through coursework, faculty interactions and Bluffton’s Design Your Life program, find their vocation.
Written by Kaylee Rauch ’26, public relations student assistant