Undecided Major? Here is How to Pick the Right Major for You

By: Bailey Arionus-Lecouris 

November 22, 2020 

Deciding on your major can be a super difficult task to conquer for many college students. This can cause a lot of anxiety for students and can be a very daunting task. In my personal experience, I ended up taking a year off school because I could not figure out what I wanted to do with my life career wise and how I wanted to focus my studies. However, don’t let this discourage you, you will find the right path for you and I am here to give you some tools to aid in this decision.  

Four Considerations to Think About

There are many different elements to consider when finding the right major for you. Best Colleges suggests that there are four concepts that college students should consider when starting to make this decision. 

1. Overall program cost 

2. Salary expectations 

3. Employment rates in the field  

4. Advanced degree opportunities  

For example, the following table is from Georgetown’s ‘Hard Times’ report(opens in new window) showing unemployment rates for new graduates with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. This kind of information would be important to consider when making career choices, because it is important to pick a field where there are enough job opportunities for you to be able to build a career. If there is a high unemployment rate in a specific major this could mean that people who graduate with these degrees have a hard time finding work and may not see a high degree pay off. 

Bar chart showing unemployment rates among different majors. Architecture and art majors have the highest rates, while education and health are among the lowest.

The reality is that students spend and often borrow tens of thousands of dollars in order to come out on the other side having gained experiences enabling them to have a fulfilling life and career. Therefore, finding a field that will offer the best return-on-investment is an important task. Although financial return is not the only thing that matters when picking a hopefully lifelong career path. Other things like passion, job satisfaction, and making sure it is the right fit for you. For myself personally I picked a marketing concentration because: 

  • There are lots of different opportunities in the field

  • It was something that is needed for every business

  • I was genuinely interested in the things I was learning about

Finding this balance is important for discovering the right career for you.  

The Nine Steps in Choosing a Major According to Zety

A career advisor that works for Zety(opens in new window), a resume building website, created a nine-step process for ungraduated majors to aid them in picking a career path. The goals of these steps are to: illustrate why choosing the right major is important and how to choose which is right for you. These nine steps are as follows:  

1. Identify your interests, values, passions, and abilities.  

It is important to understand your abilities, values, interests, and passions. These things are part of your identity as a person and can help guide you into finding a subject or career field that you will get the most benefit from, both physically and psychologically.  


  • What you are already able to do 

  • What you already have skills in  

  • What areas could work 


  • Core beliefs  

  • Guide or motivate your attitudes and actions 


  • What you like or enjoy either doing or learning about 


  • Like your interests but stronger 

  • Areas of deep interest that incorporate your values and abilities to become a desire

Venn diagram showing well-informed decisions at the intersection of values, interests, personality, and skills.

2. Consider the future

Let’s consider the future by considering some questions that will help us discover our path:  

  1. Are there good job opportunities in the field in passionate about? 

  1. Will that kind of career be around for a long time? Imagine training to be a typewriter repair person when computers came out.  

  1. How much will this type of career pay; will I be able to make a comfortable living? 

3. Choose the right school

While most of you reading this blog are already college students, it is important to be able to pursue that degree of interest at the school you are in. This may entail making sure your school offers what you are interested in or finding the major that your school offers that highlights those interests.  

4. Give yourself time

Inside Higher Ed states, “almost a third of first-time college students choose a major and then change it at least once within three years.” This underlines the importance of exploring different types of classes to possibly establish your interests. Be okay with your interests changing and be open to new experiences. 

5. Meet with advisors

Universities offer many resources to aid students in these decisions, however, many don’t utilize these experiences. Firstly, you can follow these instructions to find out how to access your personal advisor. To learn more about the Marketing Program specifically, you can reach out to advisors such as Teri Hall(opens in new window) who is the College of Business and Economics(opens in new window) Student Success Specialist. As well as reaching out to specific marketing professors and faculty like Ed Love(opens in new window) who is both the department chair and full time professor. Here is the faculty directory(opens in new window) which houses all faculty from all departments in CBE, here is where you can find the emails of professors that you can reach out to and seek advice from. But these aren’t the only people you can talk to, lean on your peers, parents, and professors for sources of advice and information that may also aid you in making these decisions.  

6. Spot any disadvantages before choosing a major

While it is important to find the benefits in a potential field it is important to also make sure to find any drawbacks or disadvantages of that major and make sure that they are things you can live with. The following article by the Education team at A lot(opens in new window) illustrates the pros and cons of attaining a marketing degree. You can also read reviews from graduated students on sites such as Grad Reports(opens in new window). Doing this will allow you to get better insight and allow you to weigh all factors before making this big decision. Below is an expert pulled from Grad Reports specifically about Western Washington University(opens in new window), notice the degree of marketing in the top right corner. 

4.3/5 star review of Western Washington University from Alexis A, a Marketing Major graduating in 2010. "Really enjoyed WWU. Great professors and a lot of diversity of classes. The campus itself is really nice is beautiful NW scenery. It's a college town so a lot to do on weekends and evenings for students. Recommended it to a cousin who's now attending and loves it!"

7. Change your mind 

As stated earlier, most don’t end up in the major that they thought they would pursue at the beginning of their college career. This is okay and normal; it is important to keep an open mind.  

8. Reality check

This step is asking yourself important questions like:  

  • What kind of job is right for me?  

  • What do I see myself doing in the future?  

  • Will this major I have chosen help me do what I want to do?  

  • Does this major fit my abilities, interests, values and passions? 

9. Read more and reconsider

Keep doing research, follow the Western Washington University Marketing Program on social medias like LinkedIn(opens in new window)Instagram(opens in new window) and Facebook(opens in new window) to follow information as they post it. As well as using resources around you such as people like Marketing faculty(opens in new window), online articles such as the WWU Marketing Blog, and your classes(opens in new window)

Key Takeaways

Choosing a major is hard and a very big life decision. Therefore, it is essential to not only weigh the financial aspects of a major and career path but also find which one best aligns with you. Sort majors by your interests, abilities, values and passions, pick a major that guarantees that there is a future in that field, get help from peers and other resources and be okay with changing your mind and going outside your normal bubble.  

Now it’s time to take this information and start to think about your major path. Start at the beginning and take your time.  

For more information about the WWU Marketing program specifically, visit the website(opens in new window) or reach out to individuals like Teri Hall(opens in new window) (student success specialist) for more information to help you succeed!