No matter where your student attends college, they will likely have a wide variety of options to choose from when declaring their major. Some schools, like Arizona State University, have more than 300 majors and concentrations. With all of these options, it can be overwhelming, especially if your student doesn’t already know exactly what they’d like to study. Luckily, there are many ways to narrow down the lists of programs so your student can find the best one for them. When your student begins searching on college websites they have options on their degree listing webpage to sort the programs in multiple ways.
We recommend three main ways to sort through a college’s degree options:
- Browse by academic subject.
- Browse by area of interest.
- Browse all degrees alphabetically.
Browse by academic subject
This option is great if your student knows broadly the school subjects they tend to excel in and find most interesting. These categories could be things like Science, which would include biology, chemistry, physics, health sciences and more; or Humanities, which could include history, English, philosophy, language studies and more. Your student can select the subject they enjoy most and browse the degrees in that category to find the one they’re most excited about.
Browse by area of interest
If your student has a little clearer understanding of their interests, they should sort through degrees by area of interest. This way, instead of just looking through all the Art programs, which could include degrees as different as painting and musical theatre, they will only be looking at the more focused, specific type of program they want — only visual arts programs, for example. This will narrow down their list of options and eliminate anything in the broader academic subject that they wouldn’t be interested in.
Browse all degrees alphabetically
Maybe your student really has no idea what they’d like to study — that’s okay! They can look at a list of every degree program a school offers, in alphabetical order, and just start looking into whatever catches their interest based on the name of the program.
Keep in mind that many schools allow students to wait until their sophomore year to officially declare a major, or allow them to start with an undecided or exploratory major. If your student chooses a program and after a semester or two realizes it’s not for them, they can always switch to a new major. The Princeton Review’s guide to choosing a major offers some more useful and practical advice.
For those who may want to begin the search the old fashioned way (pencil and paper), here are some lists compiled from common majors offered across a wide range of institutions. Be sure your student checks online with the schools they’re most interested in attending to find out exactly what majors and degrees each school offers.