Choosing a College Major

Before coming to Penn State Harrisburg, a student must have declared a major. However, this does not mean that once a student is attending Penn State Harrisburg his/her choice of major will not change. Choosing a college major can sometimes be difficult, with many variables to consider. This page outlines some recommendations that will hopefully assist students in choosing their college major.

Any student may contact Penn State Harrisburg's faculty for specific information regarding college majors. Professors will be willing to discuss majors in their field of expertise.

Determining Your Priorities

I. Factors related to your personal interests and motivation

  1. Interest or pleasure in the subject of the major
  • Motivation to know more about the subject
  • Relationship of the subject to your personal values
  1. Likelihood of success/excellence in the area
  • Self-confidence relative to your previous success in the area
  • Motivation and/or ability to improve in aspects difficult for you
  • Desire to excel, not just to improve
  • Other
  1. Advice of "significant others"
  • Advisor/counselor
  • Friend
  • Parent
  • Other
  1. Extracurricular interests (e.g. art)
  • Wanting to apply this in your vocation, not reserve it for your avocation
  • Other
  1. Other personal factors

II. Factors related to your financial, graduate school, or career needs

  1. Financial
  • Possibility that financial aid might be available for a five-year program or dual degree
  • Immediate need/desire for well-paid employment
  • Long-term need/desire for well-paid employment
  • Other
  1. Graduate School
  • Plan to attend graduate school soon after completing your Bachelor degree
  • Plan not to attend graduate school soon after completing your Bachelor degree
  • Background appropriate for particular graduate major or professional school
  • Other
  1. Career
  • Direct relationship of your major/minor to your career plans
  • Opportunities for previously unfamiliar careers that are beginning to interest you
  • Belief that a liberal-arts education is desirable/useful for total life plans, not for your career
  • Other

III. Factors related to the major/minor at Penn State Harrisburg

  1. Availability of needed courses at Penn State Harrisburg
  2. Requirements of the major/minor:
  • Reading
  • Writing papers and/or essay exams
  • Math, statistics, or computer science
  • Number of courses
  • Specific courses
  • Other
  1. Difficulty of the subject for you

Adapted with permisison from "Choosing a Major: Factors to Consider," University of Pennsylvania