I am an international student, how do I select the correct major?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

I am an international student, how do I select the correct major?

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

Is There a Correct Major?

The best advice for any student: don't go into college wed to any particular major. College is a time to experiment with many academic areas. Typically students don't stick with their majors, so there certainly isn't any one major that is "correct." Even for students who are looking to work in the United States upon graduation, there are no guarantees for visas, nor are there any foolproof majors. One trend receiving a great deal of attention, and justifiably so, is STEM, which means Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. That is one area that the United States has to strengthen. Still, you should only select a STEM discipline if you really want it, not because you think it might be a way to stay in the United States. Moreover, indicating a major such as engineering on your college application might prompt an additional review by engineering faculty, so be sure you're serious about it.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

Selecting your Major

Well, one of the brilliant aspects of studying in the U.S. is that you do not have to declare your major at the beginning of your studies (engineering is one of the exceptions). If you are interested in the liberal arts model of education then you will have time to explore and learn about various areas in the humanities. You should be assigned an advisor--and if you are not then you can visit the career center at your college or university for guidance. If there is a major that appeals to you then, by all means, indicate this choice on your application. At the majority of colleges, students change their chosen course of study a few times before their sophomore year ends.

David Allen
Managing Director Global College Counselors Ltd

The Book

Ask yourself the book question..... if you were to be given a text book tomorrow and told that it was the only thing you were allowed to read for the next four years, and you had to read it for a minimum of 2 hours every day (no People Magazine, no facebook pages, no Playboy....only this book) what would the title of the book be....... that's your Major!!

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

I am an international student, how do I select the correct major?

There is no need to select a major prior to beginning your college career. You may want to take some time to become acclimated to living in the U.S. and to American college life in general -- prior to deciding on your major. In most universities, you have until the end of your second year of college to decide. In the meantime, you can make the most of academic career by exploring new directions, confirming long-time interests, tackling general education requirements, and building a strong foundation in English.

Tyler Burton
President Burton College Tours

You have time to choose.

At most universities, students have freedom during their first and second years of school to declare a major. The best way for a student to choose their major is by trying a variety of courses in subject areas that interest them. Meeting with your academic advisor is an important component as they will mentor you through your major and course selection process. Set up meeting with different academic department heads in areas that you may major in and work with them to see what your course of study would look like in a specific major. You may even visit the career center to learn about the career opportunities for the majors that you are considering. Your academic advisor and the department heads will help you to determine a likely course of graduate school study.

Helen Cella

I am an international student, how do I select the correct major?

Depends on what your interests and strenghths are

Nicholas Umphrey

I am an international student, how do I select the correct major?

This is always a challenge for any student because the average person will change their major 3 times in University. The average person will change careers 5 times in their working lifetime. First step, don't view this as a "marriage" to one major that will lead to one job that you will have from age 22-65, because it is not realistic. The best advice I can give on this question is to try and find an academic subject or discipline that you are passionate about at this point in your life, and continue to move in that direction. Current trends say anything in the medical profession, accounting/finance, computers, and education are going to have many jobs in the future.

Woodrow Dunn
Academic Counselor Freedom High School

Correct major

Talk to your high school guidance counselor. Check out the economic reports on different majors. What do you enjoy? What are you good at. Do not be surprised if you major in a field differently than you originally planned. Remember your university years will be an adventure!

Mark Gathercole
University Advisor Independent University Advising

Explore and follow your passions

The "correct" major is in an area you are really interested in. Explore your interests and abilities throughout high school, and find out what kinds of careers might use those. Use career exploration assessments and interest and personality inventories to help you; you can find several of those online. Remember though, that the U.S. university system does not require you to know what you want to study when you enter; there is flexibility to explore and change your mind - some students change their major two or even three times and still graduate in four years! Follow your passions and you will find a major that suits you well.

Dr. Stabile

I am an international student, how do I select the correct major?

Selecting a major depends on your aptitudes and interests for various major fields of study. Some fields of study require that you be accepted into the particular college/field of study such as engineering, nursing, business, and education If you have selected one those areas of study your college courses are pretty much defined for you beginning your first year. On the other hand, if you are not sure, you can pursue a liberal arts degree which will provide you with a broad background. Then you can aspire to move on to graduate school e.g. law, business, medicine and education.