What should I major in?

Hi! I am soon to be a senior in high school, and I’m trying to figure out what I want to major in when I go to college. The reason it has been so hard for me to decide what I want to do is because there’s nothing that I particularly excel in. Instead of being really good in one or two subjects, I’m just “okay” at everything. My whole life, my family has wanted me to go into the healthcare field (although they would be fine with anything as long as I’m happy), but I don’t think I can handle all the hard science prereqs for premed (biology is ok, but I can’t stand chemistry). I really need help deciding what kind of things I might be interested in.
Here are some things I would like in a future career:

  • good salary (around $100K at least)
  • not too hard (very little or no emphasis on math)
  • I’m a very organized person, and I like making lists, and scheduling, and things like that. I was class secretary two years in a row and had no desire to move up to Vice President or president, because I enjoyed the secretary tasks more. So a career that includes some of the same type of tasks would be nice
  • I want a job that enables me to travel a lot (either through my career, or separately by taking time off from work.)
  • I like working with young kids
  • I want to be able to help people in some way and really make a difference in the world
  • I also really want to have a family someday, so jobs that allow for good work/family life balance

My dream job would fit all the criteria above, but realistically there probably isn’t a job that matches all my guidelines, so something that meets some or most of the criteria I have listed would be fine as well. I know I still have plenty of time to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life, but I just want some suggestions so I have an idea of what to major in, and what to tell people when they ask me what I want to be. Any suggestions will be helpful!


No one can tell you what to like, what you will excel at, or what to major in until you develop specific interests.

It’s okay to be undecided when entering college. Fulfill your distribution requirements & see what is of interest to you.

Otherwise consider becoming a dental hygienist. Or a traveling nurse–at least until you satisfy your desire to travel & want to settle down.

Try Information Technology. You get the coding and administrative tasks without any of the math or science. It’s a technical business degree. In fact, most computer science graduates end up getting IT jobs and work their entire career without ever looking at a math problem. You can also easily earn $100k after a few years. It’s perfect for introverted people who hate math and science.

Its not 100K but what about teaching?

or business?

^ I would also suggest being a teacher.
- You don’t necessarily have to teach math, unless you are working with young kids but it shouldn’t be hard math just adding and subtracting and such.
- Working with young kids (or kids in general)
- You get summers off, which will allow for time for travel. Also many high schools often have a travel program that offers to take groups of kids on trips to different countries, and they have teachers chaperone.
- Effective teachers must stay organized and have a structure/plan. They’re always working with papers, grading, writing, etc.
- Teachers help the next generation build the fundamentals necessary to have a successful life. They could also have an impact on youth by inspiring them to become a certain career. Talk to any of the musicy kids at your school, I’m sure some of them intend on becoming a music teacher after college. See? Impact.
- Pleanty of teachers have children there’s lots of time, especially during school breaks and the summer, to spend with your children. Most schools offer pretty generous maternity/paternity leave also.
- Even though it’s not 100k, you’re getting most of the things you looked for in a job, which is more valuable because you’re getting what you want in a job and not just any old career

Next time your in school, try asking some of your favorite teachers about what it’s like to be a teacher. I’m sure they’ll have lots to talk about. They might even give you advice about another career that may suit you better. (See? Impact)

Also many teachers will admit they didn’t have perfect gpas and such in school, in contrast to common belief.

Here are some thoughts:

  1. Only about 10% of the United States population makes $100K or more in personal income. I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of those people have years of experience (or education, or both), too; it’s pretty rare for students outside of very specific fields to start anywhere near $100K. And the recent graduates who do usually have quantitative and/or scientific/technical jobs.

The reasons why certain jobs are very well-paid is because it’s hard to find people to fill them, usually because the requirements to getting into that job are pretty hard and so there aren’t many people with the necessary credentials. That’s why most jobs that pay salaries that high either 1) are management and executive positions; 2) are healthcare positions that require many years of education and exams; and/or 3) are jobs that require quantitative or technical knowledge.

You certainly don’t need $100K to live a good middle-class lifestyle - what salary that is really depends on where you live and what your needs are.

  1. There are lots of careers in health care other than being a doctor/pre-med. There are nurses (which is in and of itself a very diverse career field - nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, research nurses, nurse consultants, nurse educators…and many nurses make over $100K, especially later in their career), physician assistants, occupational and physical therapists, dentists, dental hygienists, clinical laboratory specialists, audiologists, podiatrists, optometrists, pharmacists…and even jobs like healthcare administrators, epidemiologists, biostatisticians, community health educators, etc.

This website has a career explorer with a bevy of healthcare jobs: https://explorehealthcareers.org/career-explorer/

(Actually, being a nurse does sound like a good fit for most of your requirements

  1. While some careers are more flexible than others, really flexibility and work/life balance are about specific jobs rather than entire career fields. Think about, for example, an accountant: an accountant could work at a Big 4 firm in a very demanding job and have 80-hour weeks…or an accountant could work at a small business and generally work 40-hour weeks other than tax time. Most people also change careers multiple times, and your work/life balance needs may change over time - what you can do and need at 23 is going to be different from what you need at 43, and that’s going to be different from what you need at 53. So I wouldn’t rule out entire career paths because of the work/life balance issue…you can always parlay your experience into something else. (That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cognizant of it when choosing jobs or career fields, but think broadly.)

Here are some suggestions (and the requirements they fit):

Nursing (salary, depending on what kind and how far in your career; organization; not too much math; work with kids; help people; flexible; and you can travel with travel nursing) - actually, based on your interests, nursing sounds like a great fit for you.

School psychology (organization; very little math; helping people; working with kids; flexibility). This applies to a lot of careers within school systems, like speech-language pathologist, audiologist, school counselor, teacher, school social worker, etc. Most of those positions are not extremely well-paid - but school psychologists average around $70K and audiologists average around $75-80K).

Program management (organized, good salary, possibly allows you to travel a lot, can contribute to making a difference, may allow some flexibility depending on where you

You might like speech language pathology. It’s a healthcare field with relatively little math/chem involved. (Although there is bio/anatomy stuff because the mechanics of speech and swallowing are also under this discipline’s purview.) A lot of SLP’s work with kids. And it’s not just about speech and communication; it’s also about cognition and organization - so it ties in with your strength in that area. As more and more kids are diagnosed with spectrum disorders, ADHD, and related learning disabilities, there will be a growing market for SLP’s to work with young people who need help with “executive function” as well as with communication. The way you describe yourself sounds like you would enjoy this and be good at it. It’s also a field in which you can take “traveler” positions where you can be well paid to accept temporary assignments in different parts of the country.