Choosing a major can be an exciting and nerve wracking time, but the earlier you start thinking about it the better. I would encourage you to think about it slightly differently than most of your fellow students.
The normal thought process:
“I know I need to go to college. That means I need to pick a major soon, or I could just go undeclared. But, what major should I choose? Should I pick something that has a lot of options so I can figure it out later? There’s no way that I’m going to know now what I want to do for the rest of my life so I probably should go general and focus on something later when I have a better idea of what I want to do. By the time I graduate college I should have a good idea of what that is.”
The weird thought process:
“Where do I want to be in 5 years? What job do I want to have or what business do I want to be running? What do I what my life to look like? How much money do I want to be making? What do I need to do to get there? Is spending money on college absolutely necessary for me to get there? Will the return on investment be worth it? If it is then what do I need to know or what degree is required for that position?”
The fundamental difference between the two thought processes is that one starts with where you are and looks forward. The other starts with where you want to be and looks backwards. The latter is significantly more effective. Hindsight is 20/20 after all; and though you are not actually looking in hindsight you are effectively doing the same thing.
Colleges are a lot like car lots. Some people go without knowing what they want. They see a lot of pretty shiny cars and after a little time with a good salesman they find themselves in a brand new sports car. It’s fun and exciting at first, but usually ends with buyer’s remorse. It all happened so quickly! They realize about 6 months, and 6 car payments later, that maybe they should have researched a little better.
The people who leave the car lot the happiest are those who knew what they wanted before they ever got there. It’s simple for them. They walk on the lot; look and see if the dealer has the car they want within the price range they set, if not they leave. If it does, then they buy it. Simple. Smart. Weird.
You need to know beforehand what you want. The colleges you apply for should be based on what major you have chosen and the major you have chosen should be based on what your career is going to be. Start with the end goal in mind and work backwards looking at everything you need to do along the way to get there.
Passion, Talent, and Economic Model:
The major you choose should absolutely be something you are passionate about, have some level of talent at, and have a clear plan to make money with. It has to be all three. I’ll say that again. It has to be all three. It doesn’t matter how much you love art history, if you don’t a have a legitimate plan in place to make money with it don’t major in it. If you stink at math going into college, don’t major in accounting hoping you’ll get better; and no matter what you do, don’t choose a major based on what you think will be most profitable unless you really like the respective field.
A fulfilling and profitable vocation is made up of three things: passion, talent, and an economic model. Before you even think about choosing a major, you need to have a plan for your future career path that addresses all three of those areas.