How do you go about selecting a college major? There are several methods, but the best route is to take your time and make an informed choice by doing the following:
- Evaluate your values, interests, personality, and skills by completing career assessments. (Career Center)
- Explore careers that best fit your unique set of characteristics. (Career Center)
- Explore the connection between majors and careers – it is not always a clear-cut path. For instance, to become a nurse one must major in nursing, but to become a public relations specialist one could select from several majors. Choose a career that you would find enriching and satisfying and then select the major that will get you there.
- Talk to faculty and other students about various majors.
- Talk to people (family, friends, relatives, etc…) about their careers – informational interviews are a great way to learn about different vocations.
- Talk to a career counselor in the Career Center. This will help you develop and/or clarify your career goals and to identify the best-fit major for you.
- Join organizations. If there is a specific major you are considering, or if you already have declared a major, find out if there is a student organization for that major and join. This will help you to connect with other students who have similar interests and to gather more information about your intended major.
- Follow your dreams, but make informed choices. This means balancing your passion with additional considerations such as job market demand, salary, skills, occupational growth projections and geographic location. Your decisions may depend on how important these additional considerations are to you.
- Take classes that match your interests and skills to fully explore and develop these areas. Your advisor will help you to identify courses to consider.
- Learn the requirements of the different programs of study you are considering in order to make an informed choice about a major. The Millikin Bulletin (course catalog) and your faculty advisor are great resources for this.
- Experience it. Seek out opportunities to get hands-on career experience through part-time jobs, volunteering, job shadowing, or internships. The Career Center can help with this.
HOW TO EVALUATE A COLLEGE MAJOR
You’ve evaluated your values, interests, personality, and skills. You’ve explored careers and majors that best fit with these. Now it’s time to consider the following in order to fully evaluate potential majors:
- What preparatory courses are required?
- What is the minimum GPA for acceptance into the major? (if applicable)
- How many courses in the major are required?
- Are the course offerings sequential or non-sequential?
- If there is a required course, or courses, could they pose scheduling conflicts/difficulties?
- Are the exams finite reasoning or essays?
- How much freedom is there for elective courses, flexibility and creativity, and individual projects?
- How many credits are needed in order to graduate in that major?
- What are some of the careers of graduates of the department?
Visit the departments you are considering and ask for any information packets that might be available for prospective majors. Talk with current students who have selected the major you are considering and perhaps sit in on a few classes to help determine what a particular major will entail.
NEED SOME HELP?
Some services designed to assist you in choosing a major include:
Individual counseling is offered through the Career Center, Shilling Hall 103. Stop by or call 424-6294 to schedule an appointment.
Several career assessments are available: Values Sort Worksheet, Self-Directed Search and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
THE NEXT STEP - EASY AS 1, 2, 3
Sometimes it’s difficult to get started. If you write it down, you’ll be more apt to do it. Write three things that you will do within the next two months to help you in choosing a college major.
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