University of Notre Dame
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PERSPECTIVES

TOP 3 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Major

First-year students must meet with their advisors in person by March 31 to formally declare their colleges for their sophomore year and majors when appropriate.

3. Do I have all the information I need?

Make sure that you know exactly what classes and requirements the major you are choosing entails. One way of getting this information is checking departmental websites and course descriptions. First Year advisor Deacon Mel Tardy says that if enough of the courses seem to interest you and satisfy major requirements, then the major might be a fit. Fr. Don LaSalle suggests talking to students who are already pursuing majors that interest you. You could not only get someone’s personal insight, but could learn more about required projects or research opportunities.

2. Does this major build on my strengths?

Have you thought about what your strengths and skills are? Your major should build on them. Fr. Don says, “Make sure that you embody the skill set necessary for pursuing this major.” Laura Flynn, an advisor who works primarily with pre-health students, describes it as “making sure your personal strengths match those needed by the program.”

1. Am I truly engaged by this subject?

The most important aspect of committing to a major is ensuring that you are enthusiastic about it. Both Dean Hugh Page and Assistant Dean Maureen Dawson suggest that you look for a major that inspires you. Dr. Cecilia Lucero expands on this advice by suggesting that you choose a major that is relevant to “problems you want to solve.”

First Year advisor Dr. Atun Anggara shares a quote from Howard Thurman that he finds particularly relevant in choosing a major: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

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