At Bryn Mawr, students do not declare majors until their sophomore year. Many students arrive at Bryn Mawr completely undecided, many have some ideas, many say they already know what they will major in. Regardless of which if any of these categories you fit into, we encourage you to think of the first year as one of open-minded exploration. The Sophomore Planning Process is designed to help you through the decision-making progress. That process will be easier not harder if you take time now to explore yourself and the BiCollege curriculum AND, if necessary, correct some common misconceptions about majors.
Self-Reflection: Getting to Know Yourself
- What subjects/classes do I enjoy most? And what subjects/classes do I do well in? (Note that these may not be the same!)
- What types of assignments interest me? Which ones do I enjoy doing the most? Which subjects tend to have
- What conversations (in print, online, with peers, elders, and/or younger people) do I want to be part of and contribute to?
- What topics in current affairs do I care about?
- What topics could I spend hours learning about?
- What big questions draw my attention over time?
- What sections of bookstores/newspapers/online media do I enjoy spending time in?
Learning About Majors
Take time to review majors available at Bryn Mawr and Haverford and choose a handful that focus on topics and approaches that incorporate some of the areas you’ve identified above. Include both those that you have taken courses in and those that you have yet to study. This will give you a chance to think broadly about the types of fields that exist while thinking through which might be a good match for you.
Some activities that may help you identify a good set of potential majors include:
- Browse through Fields of Study and the major requirements on respective webpages.
- Attend Major Information Sessions.
- Talk to a faculty member who has taught a class you have enjoyed. The class doesn’t need to be in a subject you are considering majoring in. One of the advantages of attending a liberal arts college is that our faculty tend to have interests in a range of fields and to know a fair amount about at least a few fields here.
Putting Your Major into Context
Choosing a major that is a good fit is important, but try not to over-estimate the role that your major will play in your life now or in the future. Remember that your major will probably constitute only about one third of your overall undergraduate coursework. And research studies consistently demonstrate that a college major does not determine a person’s career path. Rather, it is the skills students learn in their many classes that give them solid foundation to thrive in many fields. For resources and advising on this subject, be sure to consult Career and Professional Development.