Choose Your Major Wisely, It Can Make a Big Difference

Posted on

October 2, 2017


Greg Kaplan


Many applicants look for advantages in the application process with the major that they choose on their applications. Using a major to get into college isn't as simple as picking something that sounds obscure and unpopular. You need to think about it in the context of what admissions officers are looking for as part of their class selection criteria. Recognize that colleges seek to balance genders and backgrounds in different programs, and applicants that contribute to that balance are more valuable to a college. 

For example, women earn over 57% of all bachelor’s degrees, but only 19% of engineering degrees. A female applicant with a demonstrated interest in engineering may stand out more than an equally qualified male applicant as admissions officers strive to create a balanced and diverse class. The same would go for a male applicant that applies to a nursing program. 

Some students fall into the trap of picking the most random major on the application. Brown University, for example, has an Egyptian Studies program. Who applies to that program you may ask, seeing an opportunity to stand out. Good question--we have no idea. However, we can say with certainty it does not apply to you if you have not demonstrated any interest in Ancient Egypt. Your application will not be convincing without any reason for picking it that is demonstrated in the essays and activities you list in your application.

As college counselors, we work with applicants to make sure that they apply to majors that fit their interests and application theme, and, wherever possible, boost their odds of admission.  Remember, major selection is not set in stone.  Most colleges allow students to change majors rather easily.  Check with the colleges your child is applying to about their policies for changing majors.

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