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Great Futures Office

Choosing a Major or a Career

Abdul Caesar

Choosing a major is a journey so make sure that you spend some time thinking about it before making a decision. Your goal should be to narrow your focus from all possible majors to a few that you can then explore in greater depth.

Not many high school students have enough information or experience to choose a major. Often times, the variety and depth of college coursework will help a student determine their interest and aptitude. Being undecided is a good thing and will leave you open to any and all possibilities.

Eighty percent of college students change their major at least once. Most will change their major three times over the course of their college career and still graduate in four years.

Did you know that your major in college is only the most important for your first job after graduation from college? Most people will change careers about four or five times over the course of their lives and there is no major that exists that can prepare you for that. Chances are that the major that you choose now and the career that you'll find yourself in ten years from now are likely to be very small.

Students often think that choosing a major is the same thing as choosing a career. Although these two choices are related, choosing one doesn't automatically mean you've chosen the other. Students graduating from any one major could be employed in many different jobs and likewise, people who are employed in any one job may have graduated with many different majors.

Good luck on your journey!!

Career Planning and Major Exploration

In the world of work, people of this generation are working longer than ever - 35, 40 or even 50 years. The reasons vary but one of the main reasons is because we are living longer. For this reason it is crucial that you choose a major that you enjoy and one that will give you the essential, marketable skills within a larger field of work. Transferable skills like writing, speaking, critical thinking, computer literacy, problem solving, team building, etc. are what employees are looking for in college graduates.

The Great Futures Office provides a variety of assessment instruments to help you identify your career interests, personality type, personal values and abilities. The inventories will help you discover how your interests, personality or values relate to various vocations. Information from these tools along with information given in workshops and one-on-one appointments will help you make informed decisions about a major/career.

3 Step Career Decision-Making Model

Step 1 - Assess Your Interests/Abilities/Values

Envision what you want your future to look like. Know what you need in your life to be happy and to feel successful. You will need to honestly examine your personal interests, talents, skills and values. Think about your life experiences on jobs, classes, extracurricular activities, trainings or other opportunities that you may have enjoyed. To help with this self-awareness, here are some questions that you can ask yourself. These questions include:

Step 2 - Explore Careers

Becoming aware of the career choices available to you will help you find a major and determine an initial career path. Check out the link What Do I Do With A Major In? Talking with your professors and advisor and other students majoring in your field of interest are good sources of information about majors. Information on various careers can be gathered through activities such as research using career literature, informational interviewing, job-shadowing experiences, internships, volunteer work and work site visitations. You can go to the career information section on CFNC.org to find a comprehensive overview of many career fields. Take note of the characteristics of each of your career interests such as:

Step 3 - Plan for Achieving Your Goals

Now use the information that you gathered from your self-assessment and your research to narrow down the list to a few career goals that match your interests, skills, priorities, values and personality. Some strong preferences should have emerged and you should be able to figure out what you are not interested in pursuing.