Career Services

Guidance Choosing a Major

Begin the Process
Choosing a major is a big life decision, which should not be taken lightly or made quickly.  You may feel pressure to declare a major right away, but it’s okay to be undecided.  Different people take different amounts of time to make a decision.  Remember you have until the second semester of your sophomore year to declare your major!  Choosing a major is something you have to do, but you don’t have to do it alone.  As you read further, the process and resources available to you will become clear.

Don’t be Influenced
You may feel a lot of pressure from family and friends.  You may hear “You will be the next doctor in the family,” or “You need a certain degree to make a lot of money.”  Your major and your career are things that you will have to live with, so it is important that you make the decision and no one else.

Change is Okay
Many students change their major once or more.  It’s part of the process as you “try on” different subjects.  However, certain factors such as making your decision too quickly may determine how often you change your major.

Explore What’s Important
Identify your interests

  •  To what activities are you drawn?
  •  If you had free time this weekend, what would you choose to do?
  • What topics do you like to read about
  • How do you answer when someone asks you what you’re interested in doing?  Why?

Explore values

  • What classes have felt most worthwhile to you so far?
  • Why did you place that value on them?
  • What key values do you hope to have in the workplace? 
  • Making a difference? Making money?  
  • Developing a great reputation?

Acknowledge your abilities

  • What were my best subjects in high school?
  • What are my best subjects in college?
  • What talents have I used in my past jobs?
  • What skills do I bring to my extracurricular activities?
  • In what areas have my friends and family commented on my strengths?
  • What talents would I like to develop?

It’s Not Just About the Major
When you pursue a job after you graduate, you are bringing more than just your major with you.  Sure, employers care what you majored in, but you also bring a whole employee package.  They are also interested in your GPA, what kinds of extracurricular activities you got involved in, what organizations you volunteered with and what kinds of work and internship experiences you had.

Take a Look at the Details
There may be some details associated with certain majors that deserve careful consideration. 

For instance:

Major requirements
: Do you need a certain GPA to be admitted to a major?  Are there prerequisites that you need to fulfill?  Check into these details now so you have all the information.

Additional Obligations: Some majors require that you do a practicum, internship or some other out-of-class assignments.  These are great opportunities!  Just be sure to gather the information necessary before making a decision.

Degree Completion: Talk with department chairs, faculty and advisors about how long it will take to complete the requirements for your major.  Do students typically graduate in four years?  If not, why?  Are you on track with your required classes? 

Take Initiative and Tap into Resources
There are many resources available to you; however, you need to take the initiative to gather information from them.

Academic Advisor – an advisor within LARC can help you determine what classes to take to help you explore and still stay within the curriculum guidelines.

Career Counselor – a career counselor in Career Services can help you explore your interests, values, and abilities.

Faculty Members and Instructors – they are experts in their field of study and can provide you with information that only an insider in that field would know.

Other Students and Alumni – they can share their thoughts on their particular fields of study.

Course Catalog – take a look through this and see what is required of each major.  If something sparks your curiosity, you may have found a match.

Please call Career Services at (815) 836-5282 to make an appointment to declare your major or schedule a one-on-one session to discuss your interests, abilities and skills.


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