SELECTING A MAJOR 
SECTION WWW 



BEST COLLEGE MAJOR
ADVICE ON SELECTING COURSES
IN ORDER TO SELECT A MAJOR

 
 
ADVICE FOR THOSE WHO ALREADY KNOW WHAT THEIR MAJOR WILL BE
  • Students who have come to college with a declared intent to major in a specific discipline should take the initial courses in that discipline as soon as possible in order to verify that the intended major is, in fact, the right one for them.
  • Since a student's first choice is not always the final choice, even if you are sure of your major, taking a course in your "second choice" for a possible major may be a good idea. 
  • What if you do not have a second choice? Read on in this section. Finding a second choice is similar to finding a first choice. XX
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    GENERAL ADVICE ON SELECTING COURSES IN ORDER TO SELECT A MAJOR
  • For many, finding a major is a matter of trial and error. Take courses in possible major fields.
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  • Make sure to choose your courses and instructors carefully
    Do not let one course or one instructor deflect you from a major that you strongly believe that you will like.
  • SELECTING POSSIBLE MAJOR-CHOOSING COURSES
  • OBTAINING INFORMATION ABOUT COURSES AND INSTRUCTORS
  • THE GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENT
  • Just about every college has a general education requirement (English, math, science, etc.) which must be completed on or before the end of your last semester (at most colleges before the end of your last semester is soon enough). Some students try to complete the general education requirement during the first two years; this is usually not necessary and probably undesirable. Our main point relates to choosing a major. In general, if your can not decide between taking a course to help you choose a major and taking a course to satisfy a general education requirement, except for exceptional circumstances, enroll in the course that will help you choose a major. 
  • What if a course will satisfy a general education requirement and help you choose a major? There is no dilemma here. Just take this course at your convenience.
  • Many majors require more than 24 semester credits and some have extensive lower-division prerequisites so not taking courses in this major during your first two or three semesters can force you to take more than four years to complete the degree.
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    THE GENERA






  • SSS
  • Additional information about an appropriate course for helping you select a major may be available from the department's undergraduate advisor who may help with this selection of this course by adding to the course description, by indicating the nature of course, the typical testing approach in this course with the given instructor, and the amount of reading and writing required, etc.).
    If you have questions to ask the course instructor, ask these questions.
  •  For these courses you should gather information: seriously look at the course textbook and talk to the appropriate undergraduate advisor.
  • Gathering information in order to create a short-list of courses that will help you select or reject majors under consideraion.
  • For each major that you are considering, make a list of the lower-division courses required by each of these majors; also put on this list the prerequisites to these courses assuming that you have not yet taken these prerequisites. From this list, eliminate the course for which you do not have the prerequisite. This is the short-list of courses that will help you select or reject majors under consideraion. Use these lists to select courses to take in future semesters with some preference for the courses that are on more than one list. 
  • For the courses on this list, read the catalog discription, talk to students about these courses, obtain information about the instructor and textbook. 
    With choosing a major being given a high priority, as it should be, you should be able to take one and very likely two courses a semester with the purpose of these courses being to help you select a major.
  • Take some courses offered by departments on your short-lists of possible majors.
    For these possible majors, any course that you take should be required by the major (or, at the very least, should be a prerequisite to a course required by the major) and, as always, the prerequisite should be satisfied. Unfortunately using courses to select or reject a major can only be used on a limited number of times. 
    xx For majors that you are considering, take courses that are required by or are prerequisites to courses 
    take are required by the major. 

  • PRIORIRIZING COURSES short list
    Courses that meet the general education requirement.
    Courses taught by teachers (see prelaw)

    Course in which the material seems very Interesting
    Courses list a discipline that has a relatively high probability of being your major. 

     
  • If you are able to take two courses from this short list and if there are at least four courses on this short list, sign up for at least two of these four courses and attend all four courses at the beginning of the semester but, when you are too busy, stop attending the courses you will not be taking. The goal is finish the semester having completed with a letter grade the two best of these four coursesHow one handles 

     sign up for at least two of these courses (if dropping a course is free sign up for more than two courses
  •  
     SSS  Sources of information about courses and instructors
      Something that can be used more frequently is to sit in on one or two courses during the early weeks of a semester in subjects that interest you to capture the flavor of the subject matter; if you have the prerequisite to this class so much the better. If one of these course generates an interest and if it is not too late, you might want to add this course; this may well involve dropping a course to prevent your course load from becoming too heavy. If this is not possible, consider taking this course (preferably with the same instructor) the next time it is offered. 

  •  
  • SSS
  • Taking courses in possible majors is not an efficient method to use when selecting a major unless you are down to a short-list of of possible majors. Even if not efficient, it can be effective  and until you have found a major, if possible, you should take one or two such courses each semester. A more efficent method of selecting a major (and this approach would be in addition to taking courses in possible majors) is, for courses in a possible major, take a look at the textbook, read the course syllabi (oftentimes given out on the first day of class), and sit in on the first few days or weeks of class (for a small class where your presense might be noted, you may want to get the instructor's permission before you do this).  


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  • The undergraduate advisor and, perhaps, the undergraduate peer advisors can (and perhaps will) give advice on which instructors to take and which instructors to avoid. Be discrete when asking about this topic. 
  • Many colleges have student evaluations of faculty and these are usually available on the internet to students. You may have to ask around or search your college's website.


  • AUDITING Something that can be used more frequents is to sit in on one or two courses In the early weeks of a semester in subjects that interest you to capture the flavor of the subject matter. If one of these course generates an interest and if it is not too late, you might want to add this course; this may well involve dropping a course to prevent your course load from becoming too heavy. If this is not possible, consider taking this course (preferably with the same instructor) the next time it is offered. Note the many colleges have student evaluation of faculty and have this information available on campus or even on the internet. 
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