Major Exploration

Career Exploration Banner

Choosing the best major for you will give you the opportunity to learn about things you are truly interested in and will give you a head start in your chosen profession. Sure you have a lot of interests, however, you need to start somewhere and that's where selecting the right major for you is important.

You will discover new interests, learn about your strengths and choose where you want to begin your professional career as a student. Exploring academic and career paths can help generate ideas regarding this important choice. Be sure to bookmark these helpful tools:

  • O*NET: O*NET OnLine has detailed descriptions of the world of work for use by job seekers, workforce development and HR professionals, students, researchers, and more!
  • CSUEB Academic Programs: Become familiar with the programs Cal State East Bay has to offer! Browsing courses and major descriptions might point you in the right direction.
  • LinkedIN: Join the CSUEB Career Connections LinkedIn Group

The Undeclared 'Major'

Why do you have to have a major?

A major will give your academic career focus and assist you to start developing skills, knowledge and contacts in a field of interest. Consider making an appointment with a career counselor to explore majors, interests, values, and personality type through Bay Advisor.

Yes, you have a lot to offer but if you haven't packaged your professional goals you may find them difficult to market in your field of interest or discover that you don't know what your field of interest is.

Where do I start?

Step 1. If you don't know where you are going you probably won't get there.

  • Selecting a major is a process. You are making an important decision that requires some thoughtfulness. Are you clear about your interests, skills and how you want to use them? If so go to Step 2.
  • Start by scheduling a personality assessment (MBTI/Strong) through AACE on Bay Advisor. Understanding and being able to describe your skills and talents is both personally affirming and an important first step in gauging your direction or research. This is a two part meeting with the first meeting a review of the assessment and the second is to review your report with a certified career counselor.

Step 2. Research majors

  • Explore the majors your assessment revealed. The university catalog is online. Review majors aligned with your interests or those you are curious about.
  • Academic departments are great places to get detailed information as well. The better you understand what you want the easier it will be to navigate the information you gain.
  • Talk to professors, conduct Informational Interviews (See guides to go), and check in with your career counselor throughout your search.

Step 3. Find out what it's about

  • See professional association websites; find the student chapters and contact your peers. Get involved in student activities on campus or in the community to see what people in the field do and start networking.
  • If you are excited about the courses, the career options and are confident that your skills and talents will be valuable, you are ready to choose your major.

Step 4. What's next?

  • Conduct informational interviews with people in your field of interest. Talking to people who are currently doing what you think you want to do is the best way to find out what it's really like. This type of networking can also lead to internships and jobs.
  • Look at Handshake for internships, volunteer opportunities and jobs.
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities where you can demonstrate leadership, teamwork, and interests.

Some resources:

  • Career Counselors can serve as a guide and sounding board for your ideas and questions.
  • Faculty can advise you about their departments and academic disciplines.
  • Department materials and the university catalog can give you specific requirements and descriptions of courses for majors.
  • Student organizations can provide you with opportunities to explore specific disciplines and meet students and professionals in particular majors and take on tasks, leadership and develop skills.
  • Internships are a great way to get first-hand experience in an area that may lead to choosing a major. See Pioneer Jobs for internships and jobs.
  • Professional organizations and websites can provide insights into different opportunities available for particular majors. Just Google 'professional association' and your field of interest.
  • Connect with our Pioneer Network on LinkedIn to network with CSUEB Alumni!

Career Assessments

The first stage in the career planning process is to understand yourself.
You will want to look for a career that is consistent with your personal values. How important is money? Do you want to make a difference in people's lives? Freedom to do your own thing? Prestige?
Your career will be a better fit if it calls for you to do things that you enjoy doing. Do you know what interests you?
You will be a lot happier and more successful if your career allows you to be yourself. Are you more comfortable working alone or in a group? How well do you handle stress? Do you prefer structured or unstructured work environments? Do you make decisions quickly or do you need time to analyze things?
Your chances of being hired are highest when your skills match the requirements of the job. Do you have a good idea of what skills you have? Are you concerned that you have not acquired any marketable skills?
The more you know about the things you do well or enjoy doing, the better career and life decisions you can make.
AACE offers career counseling and career assessments to assist you. Interpreted assessments are available free for you to take online. The assessments offered requiring interpretation are the Strong Interest Inventory (SII) and the Myers- Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

Strong Interest Inventory

The SII looks at your interests in a broad range of areas including school subjects, activities, people, and identifies occupations/majors where your interests could lead to a satisfying match. The SII is based on the idea that individuals are more satisfied and productive when they work in jobs or at tasks that they are interested in. Your interests are compared to individuals who are happy and successful in their jobs. Your personalized report identifies the 10 occupations most closely aligned with your interests. These occupations are just some of the many occupations linked to your interests that you might want to consider. They do not indicate those you "should" pursue. It is helpful to think of each occupation as a single example of a much larger group of occupational titles to consider.

Schedule an appointment with a career counselor through Bay Advisor (required prior to taking an assessment).

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

  • The MBTI assessment is the most widely used assessment in the world for understanding individual differences and uncovering new ways to work and interact with others. The assessment identifies a person's type made up of four basic type preferences. The report applies your results from the MBTI assessment to help you identify job families and occupations that are a good fit for your reported MBTI type. You will understand how type affects your career choice, career exploration and career development.
  • Personality Types are not labels, they are preferences. You are dynamic, you change, grow, and learn. Your type does not limit you. Your type can be used to match you to occupations or avoid occupations.
  • Learn how your "preferences" affect how you interact with others, gather information, and make decisions relating to career choices. Career Counselors are trained to interpret results which can then help you clarify your career direction.
  • Schedule an appointment with a career counselor through Bay Advisor (required prior to taking an assessment).