CHOOSING A MAJOR: How to Chart Your Ideal Path
Deciding on a major is a journey, not a simple decision. So make sure you spend time on each of these tasks to discover the career path that is ideal for you.
Explore your Interests:
What do you like to do?
What excites you?
What are your hobbies?
What subjects do you enjoy in school in high school?
What classes do you like now?
What types of careers appeal to you?
Explore your Abilities:
What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
What skills do you have?
What would your friends say about you?
What subjects/classes do you do well in?
What have you accomplished through past experiences (jobs/volunteer/activities)?
What honors/awards have you received?
Explore your Values:
What is important to you?
What are you passionate about?
Examples: helping others, working in groups, making a difference…
Envision your Dream Job:
Where are you?
What are your hours?
What is the office like?
What do you do?
What type people do you work with/for?
How are you dressed?
How much are you making?
How do you feel about this job?
Research different majors and career areas:
Skim through the catalog
Look at department websites
Talk to your advisor or professors from different majors
Talk to upperclassmen with different majors
Talk with a Career Services advisor
Get connected with alumni to see where their major has taken them
Utilize the internet to explore different majors and career industries
Look at books in the Career Services Library
Sign up for Shadow-A-Saint
Complete an internship
Conduct informational interviews with employers
Narrow down your options to a short list of majors that match your interests, abilities, values and dreams
Compare & contrast each of these majors (faculty/class offerings/career choices/etc.)
Find one major that is an all-around good fit for you
Comparing and Contrasting Majors
- Am I interested in the kinds of courses required for this major?
- Do I have an aptitude for the required coursework?
- Am I willing to invest the time necessary to succeed?
- What are the entrance and continuation requirements (pre-requisites, GPA)?
- Do the professors teach in a way that matches my learning style?
- What kind of careers have graduates from this program pursued?
- Do I need to have a graduate degree to work in this field?
- What kinds of skills can I develop from this major?
- How long will it take me to graduate with this major?
- What kinds of projects and activities are required for completion of this major?
SLU Career Services’ Resources for Choosing a Major
- Take a career assessment to help identify interests, skills, values and/or personality type
- Talk one-on-one with a career counselor to discuss possible majors that would be a good fit for you
- Explore the Career Services website
- Look at books in the Career Resource Library such as “College Majors Handbook”, “Majoring in Success” and “Great Jobs for Economics Majors”
- Log onto SAINTSLink and get connected with an alum to discuss major decisions and career paths
- Register for Shadow-A-Saint over winter or spring break
- Find and apply for Internships
- Handouts with questions to ask faculty about majors and for informational interviews with employers
There are numerous resources available that can help you declare a major that you are not only interested in and excel in, but one that will help you achieve your career goals. Enjoy the journey!