Choosing a Major for Your College Application

college admission college applications college major college planning May 02, 2024

3 Key Takeaways

  • Understand the Concept of Impacted Majors: Recognizing which majors are impacted and exploring adjacent or less popular options can significantly enhance your college application's success.
  • Strategically Select Your Major: Align your chosen major with your interests, extracurricular activities, and academic strengths to present a cohesive and compelling application narrative.
  • Prepare for Flexibility: Always have a first and second choice major ready, especially when applying to large public universities, to navigate the complexities of impacted majors effectively.

Why Does Your Major Matter?

In most large public colleges, and even at some private institutions, certain majors are what we call impacted or capped. This includes fields like computer science, business, engineering, psychology, and economics. These popular majors can be highly competitive due to their limited availability. When you're targeting these areas, it's wise to consider what we call an adjacent major. This strategy involves selecting a related, but less competitive, field which can boost your chances of acceptance while keeping you aligned with your interests.

For instance, if you're keen on psychology but find it's an impacted major at your desired college, you might explore areas like cognitive science or human development. These related fields still delve into the human psyche and behavior but may have less competition for spots.

How to Choose the Right Major for You

Choosing a major shouldn't be a hasty decision. It's about finding a balance between your passions and what's practical. Remember to select a major that not only interests you but also ties into the extracurricular activities and classes you've taken. This integration allows you to draw upon a rich tapestry of experiences in your essays, showcasing a genuine passion and commitment to your field of study.

As I said in the video: "Even if a college does not require you to apply directly to a specific major, you may have to write an essay about why you want to study your chosen field at that specific school." This highlights the importance of early preparation and thoughtful consideration when selecting your major.

What If You're Undecided?

It's perfectly fine to be undecided about your major. Many students feel pressure to choose a path before they're ready. If you're among them, take a deep breath and explore. Most private colleges allow you to declare your major by the end of your sophomore year, giving you time to explore various fields through elective courses.

However, when applying, it's still beneficial to identify your top three to five interests. These don't bind you but help articulate a direction in your application, making you a stronger candidate.

Your First and Second Choices

It's crucial to have both a first and second choice major, especially for colleges that require it. This approach shows thoughtful consideration and flexibility, qualities that admissions officers value. As I often advise, "You should choose a first choice and second choice major, because many of the colleges, especially the public ones, are going to ask you to state both."

Final Thoughts

Choosing a major is a pivotal decision in your college application journey. At Anja Education Consultants, we utilize a personalized strategy that aligns your academic interests with your long-term goals, ensuring that you not only gain admission but also thrive in your college years.

Remember, the journey to finding the right major is as important as the destination. Take the time to explore, reflect, and consult with those who can provide insight and guidance. Whether you're set on a path or still discovering your passions, there's a place for you in the vast academic landscape. Let's make sure we find it together.


Video Transcription

Anjali Maazel

Anjali Maazel

Founder and CEO of Anja Education Consultants

At Anja Education Consultants, we pride ourselves on the exceptional expertise of our Founder and CEO, Anjali Maazel. With over 15 years of experience as an alumna interviewer for Princeton University, our team, led by Anjali, brings a wealth of knowledge in college admissions. Our interdisciplinary approach, which melds arts, international education, and public relations, allows us to provide unparalleled guidance in college planning. The cornerstone of our success is the proprietary Talent Development 3D Process™, a unique strategy that has achieved a remarkable 100% success rate in securing admissions for our clients to at least one of their top three preferred schools. As a respected Ted Talk speaker and a sought-after authority in college admissions, we are frequently invited by high schools across the globe to share our insights and strategies, empowering students to reach their full potential in the competitive world of college admissions.
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