Advice for a high schooler who cannot decide what to major in

Throughout middle school, I thought I would eventually major in engineering because that’s what my dad majored in and it sounded like there would be good job opportunities once I graduate. Now that I’m a junior, I’m looking through other majors, and I’m finding so many different interesting majors and I don’t know how to pick one.

I’m all over the place, from engineering to economics to toxicology. TBH I’m not sure why I’m interested in engineering, particularly environmental engineering, I’ve just always been into helping the environment.
However, I’ve also loved watching and reading crime movies/books, so becoming a forensic analyst or doing something related to toxicology would be amazing.
On the other hand, majoring in economics sounds very cool. I love working with statistics and solving problems. I even had an idea of majoring in economics and minoring in marketing to eventually work in the marketing area because it sounds very interesting.

My head is all over the place, and I have no idea how I should decide what to major in. I would appreciate some advice in figuring out how I should go about in figuring this out.

So first of all, it’s totally fine that you don’t know what to major in! Most colleges give you some to figure this out. You have a whole other year and a half before college, and then many colleges allow you to wait until sophomore year to declare your major (although realistically, some majors have sequenced classes that require you to know a little earlier). You can try out some classes in college and wait to decide until you’ve got a little experience with the field(s).

Are you already interested in any colleges? Most college course catalogs are online now, so take a look at the major requirements for the majors you’re interested in and read some of the class descriptions. What sounds interesting to you? Do you have opportunities to read some articles or take classes at your high school related to those areas?

I will say that selecting a career from its portrayal in the media can be dicey, as most jobs are jazzed up a bit to look more exciting (and quite different) in TV and books than they are in real life. Being a forensic analyst, for example, may involve mostly working in a laboratory doing analysis on samples. (That said, if you wanted to do that, you’d probably want to major in biology or chemistry or something related.)

However, if you like statistics/math, economics, and crime/problem-solving…look into accounting. No, seriously! Financial crime is a big deal, and there are many government agencies and law enforcement bureaus that look into these. The FBI privileges accounting majors for special officer roles, as they need people with training in accounting to understand many kinds of financial crime. Forensic accounting is a whole field.

Economics, especially with a strong skill set in math and statistics, can be a good choice too. So can marketing. Really, it just depends on what you’re interested in.

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