Plagued by Indecision
Not everyone knows what they want to do for rest of their lives career wise when they are high school seniors and some that claim to know, often change their minds. If you fall into the camp of those that are undecided for a major don't despair, there are various options to choose from when considering your choice of college.
You may decide to go to a liberal arts college or a university that emphasizes a liberal arts education. Another option is choosing a big research university that allows you to be an undecided major to begin with, but has a variety of majors to choose from when you are ready to decide.
Liberal Arts Colleges
If you can't decide on a major, then a liberal arts education will give you the best opportunity to discover and develop your interests until you figure out what is is you want to do as a career. Since you will be spending the first two years taking classes in different fields you will have ample opportunity to do so. Most liberal arts colleges are small and private and emphasize undergraduate education. Therefore if you work with your professors, advisors and your career office, figuring out your career choice will not be as difficult as it seems.
According U.S. News and World Report, the following are the top-ranked liberal arts colleges in the country. The UNWR website is also a good tool to help you in your search of liberal arts colleges if you are interested in more than just the top-ranked ones.
- 1. Williams College
- 2. Amherst College
- 3. Swathmore College
- 4. Middlebury College
- 4. Wellesley College
- 6. Bowdoin College
- 6. Pomona College
- 8. Carleton College
- 9. Davidson College
- 9. Haverford College
If you are interested in the top-ranked public liberal arts colleges, here they are according to U.S.News and World Reports:
- 1. United States Military Academy
- 1. United States Naval Academy
- 3. Virginia Military Institute
- 4. St. Mary's College of Maryland
- 5. New College of Florida
- 6. University of Minnesota–Morris
- 7. University of North Carolina–Asheville
- 8. Purchase College–SUNY
Big Research Universities
Big research universities provide a fall-back option for students who are undecided about their choice of majors. This is because a number of them allow you to be undeclared when you apply and there are often so many majors to choose from when you do decide. Most big universities with big sports teams, whether public or private fall under this category of schools. A good place to look would be the various athletic conferences including Big 10, Big 12, SEC, ACC, ECC and PAC-10.
Weighing the Costs
In addition to all the considerations already discussed above, the big one of course is cost. You'll need to decide whether you and your parents can afford to pay tuition at private schools or at out-of-state public universities. Some of these schools are also very competitive. Many of these schools provide scholarships and financial aid but you'll have to apply early and compete for them.
Finally there is always the option of conserving your resources and attending a community college the first two years of college while you expose yourself to different subjects and explore your interests. You can transfer to a university for the last two or three years of your college career once you decide on a major.