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Beautiful Winter Picture of the Green

Among other sources of worry during the admissions process, I still remember worrying about making sure that I was applying as "the right major." Following "tactics" I saw at unreliable college application websites, I often found myself asking an undue number of questions about determining what major to apply to. The following is an accurate depiction of my day-to-day internal dialogues when choosing my major on the application:

"Should I apply as a *niche* major? That will make me sound super quirky. But... I won't get in if my major sounds stereotypical? A nonbinary person wants to study Gender Studies; how unique! Okay, I will apply with a more general major that most kids apply for. What if others who applied are more accomplished for that major though? WHAT AM I EVEN DOING?"

Beautiful Winter Picture of the Green
Snowy Green; the previous internal monologue necessitated a calming segue-way into the remainder of this post :)

I ended up applying to the following majors in order of preference: Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Government; Psychology. Here is how I managed to avoid over-fixating on major selection from the application process to now as a Dartmouth student.

At the time, I believe these three in the given order represented what I might want to explore at Dartmouth. At the end of the day, the purpose of stating one to three preferred majors in your application is to give an idea about what academic fields excite you as a learner. The admissions process contains a plethora of quantitative and qualitative data about you as a potential member of a college community. Though the preferred major may help shape your profile as an applicant, it is not the end all be all of your application! The bottom line is that admissions officers are genuinely interested in getting to know you, so sharing information in your unique way is the best way to characterize your application!

As much as I would like to say the hassle about major declaration ends in the application process, that might have been just the start. Your name, class year, and major are the three most asked questions when you enter a new space and are getting to know other people. Not precisely knowing what I want to study, I would say a different major every time someone asked me to see what "being" that major "sounds like." It is important to distinguish between "being" versus "pursuing" a major: what you major in does not determine who you are. However, the fields you spent the most time learning about can suggest ideas about what matters to you. The question I found helpful was: "What matters to me?" Then, I had an easier time deciphering what I might potentially major in.

Don't know what you want to major in? Me too! Nevertheless, I am glad that I make good use out of Dartmouth's breadth of curriculum and trying new academic fields.

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