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.

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 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.

Connie Boger

College Majors

Research the careers you are interested in by reading about them and talking to people who are working in that career. From that, you will choose the major which will prepare you for that career.

Pamela Hampton-Garland
Owner Scholar Bound

Choosing a major

Your national status is irrelevant to your major, your passions, talents, gifts, interests, all of those are the factors to use to determine a "major". Even at that sometimes it is just as important to go into college undecided and enjoy the luxury of taking a variety of courses during your first two years of general education courses to find where your interests are. Now the only other thing that might influence your decision are your parents'.

Dr. Bruce Neimeyer
CEO/Partner Global College Search Associates, LLC

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

You are no different than any other student really. My suggestion would be to take a career or interest inventory exam. There are many online now with results that are online. I like the i-Strong exam for a number of reasons but mainly because the results are easy to use. This will help you to choose a college that provides a number of the majors in which you are interested. Remember, you don't HAVE to pic a major going into college. You only need to have a general idea about what areas interest you initially and if the college provides those. You want to make sure they do so that you are not stuck in a transfer situation where you may lose credits toward your major and cost yourself additional time to complete the bachelors degree. There are so many majors that you have not experienced in high school curriculum so limiting yourself coming in can keep you from truly exploring a field that may turn out to be your career calling. Keep in focused but not too focused when it comes to majors. An open flexible mind is a good thing!

Annie Reznik
Counselor/CEO College Guidance Coach

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

Major selection is a challenging component of the process for international students because each college has a unique vernacular which can make identifying a desirable field of study nearly impossible. However, unlike many collegiate settings outside of the US, major choice is a much less significant component of the application process. If you are certain of your field of study and can't locate it on a list of majors provided by a college, connect with each individual college directly. If you are unsure of your major course of study, indicate "undecided" or "undeclared."