7 Easy Steps to Jumpstart your Child’s Major Exploration (free PDF included!)

Today, I’m going to discuss 7 proven methods for exploring your child’s potential major. As I mentioned last week, 15-year-olds don’t need to know exactly what they want to pursue in terms of major/career, but there’s a benefit to them knowing now! It’s better to find out earlier so that your child has time to research and immerse themselves in real-world activities before deciding to say “Yes!” to a college major.

So, without further ado, here are 7 easy steps to jumpstart your child’s major exploration:

Step 1: Gain clarity on your child’s academic interests and strong skill sets. If possible, try to dig deeper by identifying what your child values in life. This may or may not work, depending on how much your child usually expresses him or herself in front of you.

Blog suggestion: 8 questions to ask your child to gain clarity on educational goals

Step 2: Look through popular college majors. This step is not for your child to get lured into the most popular majors out there, it’s to get an idea of which majors and careers are in demand. After you narrow the list down to a couple of popular majors, look into the top colleges associated with each chosen major. To help you with this step, I’ve created a PDF outlining popular majors and the top 10 colleges associated with each major.

Step 3: If your child has a “dream college” — which I’ll talk about next week — it’s a great idea to print out a list of all the majors offered at this particular college. Research each major that interests your child in order to gain more information about how this college supports students within the major of your child’s choice. In addition, this is an awesome method to find out why your child’s dream college might not actually be a great fit, because they might not have strong programs within your child’s major. For example, wanting to attend UCLA as a business major is not possible because UCLA doesn’t offer business degrees to undergraduate students.

Step 4: Utilize online websites, such as: MyMajor.com, ASU’s major maps, and MassCIS by U of Oregon.

Step 5: If your child has a rough idea of which area he or she wants to study in (such as STEM, English, Business, Communication, etc.), I encourage them to start enrolling in volunteer and summer programs related to that major. Nothing beats real-life immersion! For example, if your child is interested in science, have them enroll in biochemistry research summer programs. If your child is interested in education, have them volunteer at non-profit reading centers. See the pattern?

Step 6: Talk to people! Every time your child has a chance to meet adults and professionals, have them ask why each person decided to choose the major they studied in. Your child can also take this opportunity to ask them how choosing the “right” major can affect their career options. This way, your child will also realize that a major doesn’t directly translate to a certain career, but rather, a career is associated with having strong skill sets.

Step 7: Start visiting colleges! In addition to taking general campus tours, attend admissions events that target each major. For example, if your child is interested in engineering, he or she should aim to attend an admissions event at the School of Engineering.


By Julie Kim Ed.M Harvard University

If you want my help with getting your child accepted into his or her dream college, let’s chat and see if your child would be a great fit for my college consulting program.

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