How do I find a major that fits with who I am?
Before choosing a major/career, take time to figure out who you are, what you are good at and what you want and value in life. Making an informed decision about your major is more than what you are interested in. Consider interests, skills, values and personality when choosing your major and career. Career Exploration offers a variety of assessments to look at each of these areas. Take time to meet with your academic advisor and look at course requirements and ask yourself if you are skilled in these areas.
The primary career theory that we use in Career Exploration is Holland's Theory of Career Choice. Holland proposed that each person has some combination of 6 different work interest areas. Usually, 2-3 of those areas will be prominent for each individual. People work best in environments that will let them exercise their skills and abilities, express their attitudes and values, and take on agreeable problems and roles. The themes are listed below.
People who have athletic ability, prefer to work with objects, machines, tools, plants or animals, or to be outdoors. May be described as practical, athletic, adventurous and self-reliant.
People who like to observe, learn, investigate, analyze, evaluate, or solve problems. May be described as curious, rational, critical, intellectual, insightful, and persistent.
People who have artistic, innovating, or intuitional abilities and like to work in unstructured situations using their imagination and creativity. May be described as impulsive, non-conforming, sensitive, emotional, visionary, introspective, and imaginative.
People who like to work with others to enlighten, inform, help, or train them and are skilled with words. May be described as humanistic, cooperative, supportive, tactful, and friendly.
People who like to work with others, influencing, persuading, leading, or managing for organizational goals or economic gain. May be described as self-confident, assertive, sociable, ambitious, energetic, verbal, optimistic, assertive, and competitive.
People who like to work with data, have clerical or numerical ability, carry out tasks in detail, or follow through on others’ instruction. May be described as practical, organized, systematic, accurate, dependable, conscientious, and quiet.
How do I choose one major to fit all of my interests?
Chances are, there are several majors that fit with your interests. Often, you can satisfy your interests in other aspects of your life, such as volunteering, hobbies, recreation, etc.
Explore receiving a double major and/or minor in different subjects. Ask your advisor about the differences between a BA and BS offered in some majors. Check department requirements before deciding to double major and minor. Most majors lead to a variety of careers which may also help you to meet all of the different interests that you have.
How do I know if I will be successful in my major?
Before choosing a major, look closely at course requirements and ask yourself if the core classes of the major are classes you performed above average in during high school. Review the Careers in My Major section of our website to see what types of skills are often required in different majors. Additionally, talk to professors and upper level students in departments that you are interested in.
Should I change my major?
If you are in the beginning of your major and still completing your general education requirements, changing your major may be the best option for you if you realize your major is not the best fit and/or you are not performing above average in your coursework.
If you are well into your major (late sophomore/early junior year), changing your major could lead to loss of credit hours that can be applied towards your major. Before changing majors, meet with your advisor to find out if classes you have taken will apply towards other majors or if you will lose a significant number of credit hours. If receiving financial aid, consult with your financial aid counselor to determine the effects of changing majors on your financial aid loans.