Soup or salad? Pizza or pasta? Biology or public health? Philosophy or English? Without question, choosing a major can be a tough choice – a whole lot tougher than deciding what’s for dinner.
But, don’t fret if you haven’t settled on a degree path just yet. It’s not a decision you have to make alone. The Career Center is holding a series of workshops designed to help any and all students struggling with where to focus their academic pursuits.
The first Choosing a Major workshop took place from 4 to 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019, in the Career Center, which is located on the second floor of the Lightsey Center. Three more workshops will be held this fall at the same time and location on the following dates: Oct. 8, Oct. 23 and Nov. 5. Each workshop is co-presented by an academic adviser and a career counselor.
“We cover everything from course credits to career goals,” says Career Counselor Emma Waugh. “Students will learn some of the myths about being undecided, the difference between choosing a major and choosing a career and some resources on campus to help them take the next step.”
During the workshops, students will participate in an interactive series of self-assessments designed to help them learn more about themselves and their interests. Students will also receive a workbook they can use at home.
The College Today caught up with Waugh ahead of the first workshop to find out a few tips on how students who may be bouncing between several majors can begin to narrow the field.
Who should attend the Choosing a Major workshop? Is it just for undeclared majors or first-year students?
Anyone who is still exploring majors or thinking about changing their major will benefit from this workshop. It is not limited to first-year students. We often have sophomores and sometimes juniors attend as well.
What is the top challenge students face when choosing a major?
College is a big investment for students and their families. There is a lot of pressure to have it all figured out at the beginning of college, and there is a common misconception that everyone else has it figured out already. The reality is that students don’t have to declare a major until the end of sophomore year, and it is very common for students to change their major at least once. We go through several of these myths and facts during the Choosing a Major workshop.
When choosing a major, should students think about what they are interested in, what they’re good at, a preferred career trajectory or some combination?
We encourage students to first focus on what they are excited to learn about. Pursuing a major that is interesting to them is the best foundation for building a successful career. One of the exciting things about a liberal arts education is that our majors can lead to multiple career paths. By exploring their interest areas both inside and outside the classroom, they can start making connections between their major and potential careers.
How should students who have no idea what they want to major in begin to narrow down the field?
When students have no idea where to begin, the best first step is to figure out what their options are. Looking through the Programs of Study on the course catalog lets them see all of the majors and minors at once. They can eliminate the majors that don’t appeal to them and take a closer look at all the classes in the majors that catch their eye. Many majors have great intro classes that students can take to fulfill their general education requirements, while also testing the waters in that major. We highly encourage them to make an appointment with their adviser and/or a career counselor to talk through this process.