Choosing your Major – Senior Students Share their Thoughts

During the first year, students normally study a broad range of Gateway Education courses in addition to College core courses, and most students choose their major in Semester B of the first year. As there is a wide variety of majors, each of which may require different procedures and criteria (Current Students→Declaration of Majors), selecting a major could give rise to much anxiety. To address the most commonly raised queries and concerns about major selection, the editor interviewed several senior students and summarizes some tips below.

Interviewees

Haiyun HELydiaEmmaQi WANGYolanda
Media & CommunicationAccountancyCreative MediaSurveyingPsychology

Q1. What will you consider when choosing your major?

  • Haiyun HE Media & Communication
    • ✓  The most important thing should be focusing on your own interests! You also need to consider your own character and abilities to see whether you will be competitive in this area.
  • Lydia Accountancy
    • ✓  You really need to think clearly about whether the job you will be doing in the future is the one you want.
  • Emma Creative Media
    • ✓  Know more about what you are going to do in the future, not only during your time at university but also have a long-term plan.
  • Qi WANG Surveying
    • ✓  Take your major based on your own personal characteristics and interests. Be true to yourself instead of simply following others’ opinions.

Editor’s Notes

  • ✓  Most senior students suggested that interest should be considered first when selecting your own major since you are going to stay with the major for at least three years.
  • ✓  Some students are concerned too much about their career prospects and predominated by other people’s expectations, ended up losing interest to learn and getting unsatisfactory grades. Contrarily, those students who choose their majors based on interest tend to be able to rise to the challenges and gain enjoyments from learning.

Q2. How would you prepare for the selection?

  • Haiyun HE Media & Communication
    • ✓  You may take a look at the course structure of various majors and do research on those topics to see whether you would like to study those courses.
  • Lydia Accountancy
    • ✓  When doing group projects or individual assignments, try to select topics which are related to the major you may choose, to get a deeper understanding of that major and to see whether you really want to study it, as in practice, studying it can be very different from your imagination.
    • ✓  Don’t only talk with students and teachers, but also try to get some opportunities to talk with people who are at work, to learn more about what you might do in future.
  • Emma Creative Media
    • ✓  During the first year, you will have the chance to take courses from different fields. Try to identify your own interests from taking these courses.
  • Qi WANG Surveying
    • ✓  Consult senior students and teachers from different majors to get more information.
    • ✓  The most important thing will be to ensure that you have a great interest in it.

Editor’s Notes

  • ✓  How can you identify your own interest?
    • •  Choose some major courses and sit in on classes.
    • •  SDS provides psychological tests (Description→Psychological Testing for Self-understanding) that you can use to identify your personal career and learning interests and strengths.
    • •  CAP postings will give you daily updates on what events and activities (e.g. competitions, student activities and seminars) are going on. Some activities will offer you the opportunity to interact with career professionals.
  • ✓  It’s important to get a realistic picture of the major.
    • •  Actually studying the major can be quite different from how you imagine it, especially when you encounter challenges.
    • •  You may want to hear opinions from students on how they managed challenges when studying their own major.

Q3. What are the challenges and opportunities in your major study?

  • Yolanda Psychology
    • ✓  Opportunities
      • •  It offers summer internships in Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, Beijing and Nanjing. You may even get the chance to work at the Chinese Academy of Science, which is the top research centre in China.
      • •  You can work as a research assistant for your professors and even have your own publications while still an undergraduate student!
    • ✓  Challenges
      • •  You need to do a lot of reading and essay writing.
      • •  You will also be required to learn statistics and research methods.
      • •  You need to complete a final-year project which is an independent study conducted by yourself.
  • Lydia Accountancy
    • ✓  Opportunities
      • •  The programme will offer you a lot of opportunities for summer internship.
      • •  There are also tailor-made programmes for outstanding students to get them extra professional training. For example, there is a mentorship programme through which you may get training from CEOs about business etiquette and professional image.
      • •  It provides workshops for CV writing and interviews.
    • ✓  Challenges
      • •  The workload for accountants at the entry level can be quite heavy. You may need to work overtime to 11 pm every day, and the competition is really keen.
  • Emma Creative Media
    • ✓  Opportunities
      • •  Advanced equipment in the Creative Media Centre.
      • •  Information updates for certain digital game shows you can participate in.
    • ✓  Challenges
      • •  Programming is a must-have skill for this major. You need to spend a lot of time learning by yourself.
  • Qi WANG Surveying
    • ✓  Opportunities
      • •  The career prospects are promising.
      • •  Our programme, in collaboration with several famous universities such as the National University of Singapore, University College London and the University of New South Wales, provides students with opportunities to join student exchange programmes in those universities.
    • ✓  Challenges
      • •  The course curriculum covers a wide range of disciplines, such as law, architecture and tender, etc. You need to acquire all-round skills to cope well with these courses.

Editor’s Notes

  • ✓  Questions to ask when considering your choice of major:
    • •  What can that particular programme offer me?
    • •  Are there any specific selection criteria for that particular major?
    • •  What challenges should I expect?
    • •  What is the most surprising thing about studying this major?
    • •  What are the career prospects of the major?
  • ✓  Reliable sources of information:
    • •  Programme leaders, academic advisors, mentors
    • •  Information sessions held by your College/School (an email will be sent before selection of a major)
  • ✓  Things to take note of:
    • •  The content of several majors (e.g. social work) are designed mainly for the context of Hong Kong.