The hope blog

Choosing a Program: How to Decide What to Study in Post-Secondary

Ayla R. | April 16th, 2023 | 5 min read

Choosing a program to study in post-secondary is a huge decision that leaves many high school students feeling confused and unsure about what to do. Students ask themselves, what should I study? Where do I see myself in 5 years? Most students are unsure about their next steps after high school, but luckily there are steps you can take to make the right choice. This article will break down how to choose your program so you can be confident in your future decision.

Table of Contents:


1 – Explore Your Interests


2 – Research


3 – Career Counseling

4 – Gain Experience

This image shows a notepad and pen on a purple background.

How to Explore your Passions

Before you decide what your major is, you have to explore your interests and learn what you are passionate about. What are your natural strengths? Do you have a particular subject area that you excel at in school, or a subject you really enjoy? Narrowing down these subject areas can help you better understand what you like.

For instance, you can do an exercise where you write down all the subjects you enjoy at school and why you like them. For example, you can write that you enjoy biology because you are interested in learning about organisms and life. Or maybe your favorite class is English because you like writing and analyzing literature. Creating a list of your interests will help you organize your thoughts.

This image shows a person researching possible career paths


After narrowing down your personal interests, you can begin researching the topics you are passionate about and the types of careers that relate to your interests. For example, you can look up articles about the subject area (ex: Biology) you are interested in and learn about the types of careers you can potentially pursue. The University of Toronto offers web pages where you can view careers according to major. This is a great starting point to explore possible careers, as there are so many options you can look into. You can even check out the potential salaries you can get from these jobs – giving you a realistic look at these careers. 

Additionally, you can view the application requirements for your program of interest on university program websites. Here is an example of the types of requirements you would need for a bachelor’s in Social Work. This will help you create goals in your school work to meet the requirements.

This image shows two people sitting in an office and discussing career counseling.

Career Counseling

Career counseling is a great way to help you explore your goals. You can speak to a guidance counselor at your school about university programs and the application requirements. This is a great way to gain information, as guidance counselors have a wealth of information about programs and which university or college would be a good fit for you.

Next, you can go into career quizzes that can help match you to a possible major, according to your responses to the questions. This quiz from US News is a great resource to help narrow down the search.

Gain Experience

Perhaps the best thing you can do to help you choose a major is to gain experience in your area of interest. You can do this by volunteering in an office or place that you are interested in working in. For instance, if you want to pursue a career as a veterinarian you can volunteer in a vet office or animal shelter to gain first-hand experience. This can help you see if this is the type of job you would enjoy – or if it does not match your interests. This will help you be more confident in picking a future path.

Feel free to reach out to places that you want to volunteer at by asking if you can help out. You can ask if you can help out or shadow a professional with a career you aspire to have. This is a great way to get involved, and you can gain volunteer hours at the same time. For example, if you’re interested in a career in marketing, communications, or education, you can apply to join the HOPE team here.

I hope you enjoyed these tips for choosing a major. Wishing you the best of luck with your future choice! 

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