Many students heading into their college years do not know what major they'll choose. But not knowing what you want to major in doesn't have to count as one of life's disasters. Colleges and universities have many classes that you can take that will count toward the degree you eventually earn; these classes will introduce you to a broad range of subjects and may ultimately lead you to where you want to go.
According to Marquette University, "undecided" is its most popular major on campus, so if you fall into this category, you are not alone. If you have not declared your major and are about to enroll in school, ask to meet with an adviser. She will likely steer you toward classes in what's known as the university core or general education requirements. These are classes that all students must take regardless of what they major in. They'll help get your academic career going and allow you to productively buy some time until you decide on your major.
The university core requirements introduce students to a broad range of subjects such as math, different types of science, the arts and social sciences. Ashland University in Ohio explains that the university core is the "common major" among all the students. These classes are designed to help you learn how to think for yourself, but as a side benefit, they may introduce you to your major. If you have a passion for art history or an inkling that you may want to study archeology, core courses give you an introduction to subjects such as these and count toward your major later on.
Many students who come into college with an undeclared major may actually have a subject-area interest, which can help point the way to initial classes to take. For example, if you know that you are interested in business but aren't sure exactly what kind of business, opt for core classes in economics, beginning accounting or marketing. Approaching your general education coursework in this way helps you look at different aspects of the same subject until you find the emphasis that fits you. You can then select a major that highlights more of what you enjoy about a subject and downplays areas you don't.
Even if you are taking all of the required general education classes you'll need to graduate, you still need to meet regularly with your adviser if you remain undecided. At some point, usually at the end of your sophomore year in school, you'll have to declare a major. Not making satisfactory academic progress can impact you in areas like financial aid down the road. This may mean you'll lose your financial aid privileges, forcing you to pay for school on your own. Meeting with your adviser can help you avoid those potential pitfalls and keep you on track for graduation.
Buffy Naillon has worked in the media industry since 1999, contributing to Germany's "Der Spiegel" magazine and various websites. She received a bachelor's degree in German from Boise State University. Naillon also attended New York University and participated in the foreign exchange program at Germany's Saarland University. She is completing her master's degree in educational technology at Boise State.