The Undeclared 'Major'

What's so good about having a major? After all most people are pursuing careers unrelated to their college majors. Graduate schools like students with diverse backgrounds including unusual majors.

A major will give your academic career focus and assist you to start developing skills, knowledge and contacts in a field of interest. There is information on our website, as well as workshops and events that will help you investigate your options. Consider making an appointment with a career counselor to explore majors, interests, values, and personality type.

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.

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.
  • Students can offer you perspectives on their experiences with their majors.
  • 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.
  • Check out our Career Contacts Directory to find a professional willing to lend an ear!

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 if not...
  • Start by taking an assessment. 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.

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. 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?

  • Contact our Career Contacts Directory and do informational interviews with people in your field of interest. Talking to people who are currently doing what you think you may be interested in 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 Pioneer Jobs for internships, volunteer opportunities and jobs.
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities where you can demonstrate leadership, teamwork, and interests.

Congratulations! You have practiced skills that you will use throughout your professional career. As you change jobs and careers, following these easy steps will support you in your professional endeavors.