I often work with students who really have no idea what they want to major in when they enter college. We will do career assessments, research different aspects of an academic department, but sometimes they just can’t narrow it down to one potential career or major. There is so much pressure (from parents, teachers, society in general) to “know” what you want to be when you grow up, but often times, even grown ups don’t know what they want to be. That is why I love schools that let students design their own major.
Often times, the students I work with have a hard time nailing down a major because they are interested in so many things. Art, music, science, law, why would you want to eliminate any of these subjects? A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlights some of the 900 colleges and universities that are now offering “individualized majors.” While the structure of design your own major programs is going to vary from school to school, the opportunity will still allow students to explore their interests in a variety of different subjects or focus on a specific aspect of their chosen field. While many schools offer independent study programs, the opportunity to design your own major goes beyond just one research project.
While some critics of design your own major programs claim that a student-created majors are not as beneficial as traditional majors, as long as student is self-motivated and finds a good faculty advisor, the opportunity to study what you are passionate about is priceless.