Tips on Deciding What to Major In, Double Major In, or Minor In

Deciding what you want to study is a pretty daunting task. Let me help you by breaking down some tips that helped me decide on my majors.

By Katie FitzGibbons July 6, 2021
Blog post by Katie

“I’m a double major in Anthropology and Film, Television, and Media.” When I tell people my majors, they normally look at me with confusion and inquire as to how I decided upon those two very different majors. I normally shrug and say something along the lines of “it just ended up that way.” But if I’m being truthful, it took a lot of strategy and thinking ahead. I’m not saying you need to figure out what you want to major in immediately when you commit to a school, but I do think it is a good idea to start thinking about it early. To help you with this problem, I compiled a list of tips that helped me figure out which majors to pursue.

Webpage listing LSA degree requirements
Summary of LSA Degree Requirements

1. Use your required courses to explore topics that interest you

Each school has their own requirements in order to graduate. For example, LSA requires you to complete seven credits in each of the Humanities, Social Science and Natural Sciences courses. You should use those open spaces to explore classes that interest you. Don’t just take a class because your friend is taking it or because it’s conveniently located. Take courses that interest you, and that you could potentially see yourself doing. This will help solidify your career passions from what you simply enjoy. For example, in the winter semester of my first year, I took a Wayfinding class and an Intro to Anthropology class. While I enjoyed my Wayfinding class immensely, I didn’t connect with it in the same way I connected with my Anthro class. This led me to take more Anthro courses and eventually declare it as my second major.

Webpage showing LSA course guide
LSA Course Guide

2. The school course guides are your best friends

I have spent literal hours exploring the course guides. The only reason I was able to find that really cool Wayfinding class was because I did some deep digging in the LSA Course Guide. This also doesn’t have to be a big event. You could put on the TV in the background and scroll through the course guides. Don’t put pressure on yourself to find the perfect class. A lot of times if you just flag the classes that interest you or that fulfill a requirement, you’ll end up finding the perfect course.

Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library
Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library

3. Talk to your GSIs and Professors about their research

I know talking to your graduate student instructors (GSIs) and professors can be an intimidating task, but if you are willing to try it out, you’ll realize that they are just really cool people who love talking about their passions. They will be happy to talk to you about their class and help you figure out what exactly your passion is. Absolutely go to office hours!

Friends of the Farm webpage
Friends of the Campus Farm on Maize Pages

4. Explore clubs that peak your interest

Clubs are a great way to meet new people who love what they are studying and are happy to talk to you about it. In these clubs, you’ll be able to get hands-on experience and further assess your desire to pursue the topic as a career. I also recommend signing up for the club’s newsletter or mailing list. In those emails, you’ll be able to find different activities, events, resources, jobs, and volunteer opportunities that will help you explore more about the topic and what it’s like to participate in it outside of the classroom.

In conclusion, you don’t need to have everything figured out before you get to college. In fact, I recommend you go in with an open mind and be open to the possibility of discovering a completely new and exciting passion. There are a lot of different ways to pick a major and these are just a few tips to help you along the way. Also, you should absolutely talk to your counselors. They will be able to help you plan a course of action for whatever major you choose. There are so many different majors at the University of Michigan, there’s something for everyone.

Katie FitzGibbons

Katie FitzGibbons is a junior in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts double majoring in Anthropology and Film, Television, and Media. Katie is the Social Chair for Friends of the Campus Farm and spends a lot of her free time volunteering at local farms. She loves doing any activities outdoors, including hiking, camping, or just simply walking around campus. When not outside, you can usually find her crocheting or reading a good book.