Students Struggle to Decide Majors

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Tong, Flickr Creative Commons

Every year, many students struggle to find a major that's the right fit for them. Indeed, making a decision on a major can be complicated, but there is help available.

According to Joseph Connell, director of student services, reading up on majors on the college website is a good place to start, as well as looking at the career options for each major on the Cahill Career Development Center website.

“[Students] are encouraged to make an appointment with an academic advisor in Student Success’s Center for Academic Advisement and First Year Experience (CAAFYE) or a career counselor in the Cahill Career," Connell said.

Professors are another good source to talk to when having trouble finding a major that is suitable. They are very approachable and willing to meet with students about their area of expertise. Students should never hesisitate to find a faculty member within the major.

Connell also suggests completing the Focus Career Assessment for free through the Cahill Center website.

Major and minor fairs are a great place to learn about majors.  CAAFYE’s annual Majors and Minor Fair is taking place on Thursday, Oct. 9, in Friends Hall from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. “This is a great opportunity for students to utilize the resources available to start choosing a major,” Connell said.

“I kind of followed in my dad’s footsteps in choosing my major because he works as a journalist and editor for The New York Times.  I’ve always loved to read and write and couldn’t see myself majoring in English, specifically, so I decided to major in journalism.” Samantha Bell, a senior journalism major said.

Being that Americans spend over 35 hours a week working, according to the United States Department of Labor, choosing the right career path is important and should be something students enjoy doing.

“One of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten regarding career choice was to pick something I love to do and I’m passionate about; a career that you hate isn’t worth pursuing, no matter how much money you make," said Marina Consalvo, a senior global communications major. "In the end, you should be happy doing what you do above anything else.” 

Another option is to try out an introduction class, like “Introduction to Social Work.”  This allows students to see how the subject is taught, and maybe find out that they really love it and want to continue on, or maybe that it is not the subject for them.

“When you actually enjoy what you are learning, you tend to want to keep learning more," Nicole Gentile, a senior psychology major said. "That is when you know you have found the right major for yourself.” 

Another path that Ramapo offers is something known as a contract major.  Connell describes this as a “personalized course of study that offers students with specialized interests to develop, in collaboration with a faculty advisor, a coherent program of courses in areas of inquiry for which regular majors are not offered.”

Choosing a major can be difficult, but Ramapo offers different avenues that are available to help guide the student to success.