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Choosing a major

Along with free career/major exploration on sites such as www.mynextmove.org, students can also take the MAPP test for in-depth results and suggestions on possible major and career areas. The MAPP test is often paid for and given by individual schools or school districts, but it is also available through their website.

While many high schools have freshmen begin a four-year plan to map out their high school careers, guidance counselors can also offer students materials to plan and organize their next few years and help them get started in the major exploration process. Whether it’s taking a year off before college or immediately moving into a selected major, counselors will have materials and programs to help each student. 

Discussing career options with teachers, mentors, neighbors and others can also be beneficial, especially for students who aren’t sure what area they would like to venture into. If possible, encourage your student to try job shadowing or talking with local business owners, journalists, whatever your student might be interested in. Many colleges offer their course listings online and this can be a great starting point for your student in deciding their areas of interest.

As a parent, the idea that your student may remain an undeclared major for a time can be a bit scary, but it’s important to remember that this is okay and quite common. A number of schools don’t require students to declare a major until their sophomore year. Freshman year of college is a time for exploration and taking care of general education requirements. 

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