Selecting A Major: As Easy As H.A.S.

No pressure, but choosing your major is one of the biggest decisions you will make at college. By selecting a major, you are selecting a specific path to your future. Unfortunately, many college students—both new and experienced—have a very hard time figuring out what path is best for them. Luckily, however, I have a foolproof system that, when followed in order, can make this choice as easy as the word, “has.”

The H.A.S. System:

H—Hates before Likes

The fatal mistake that many students make is by first thinking about what they would like to do, when they should instead be thinking about what they would hate to do.  Let’s take atmospheric sciences as an example. If a student likes science and weather phenomena, they might think this major is right for them. However, this same student hates calculus, which is heavily used in the study of weather. This student is going to have to find out the hard way that this major is not their cup of tea.

You can make this decision so much easier if you are able to eliminate majors based on subjects you don’t want any part of after high school. Information on which subjects each major would require are available on your school’s website. It is important to know what you’re getting yourself into before selecting. Make sure they don’t involve any of those subjects that you simply despise.

A—Applicable in Your Area

So let’s say you think Agricultural Studies is a good fit for you, but you live in downtown Chicago.  Do you think you would be able to apply that degree at your current location? You have to keep in mind where job opportunities relating to your major selection are located. Are you willing to relocate for your career choice? Or would you be better off picking a major that you can apply for in your current location? Keep in mind before you pick a major what the job market is like around you, and if you would be able to apply it after graduation.

S—Stick with it

I’m going to be straight with you. The basic levels for every major are pretty hard to sit through. They are basic levels. You must take them. They give you small doses of everything that your major consists of. Most likely they will be at the most inconvenient time for you. It will make you want to switch majors.


You must stick with it through these basic levels. Clearly you have an interest in this particular major, give it a chance to show you exactly what it has to offer. The upper-level classes that you will take after these basic levels will give you a more concentrated education on whatever areas of the major that you prefer, so stick it out. You’ll be happy you did.

Relax. There are no penalties for changing your major if you do decide you are not happy with your first choice. (Except for having to take the introductory courses of a different major all over again) However, by keeping these three steps in mind, it’s easy to HAS a great major the first time around.

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Betsy Loeb

Betsy Loeb

Betsy Loeb is a senior at the University of Illinois majoring in Broadcast Journalism. She lacks the ability to draw, so she loves being able to express her creativity instead through her writing. She considers herself the “coolest nerd,” spending many Friday nights indoors playing Guitar Hero and discussing Pokemon cards with her friends.