Choosing a Major | St. Lawrence University Career Services

Choosing a Major

Undecided? You’re not alone…
Being uncertain about your major is common. We’re here to help. We understand your concern and look forward to helping you through this process.

You’ll excel at a major you enjoy studying.
This makes sense, right? If you’re interested in something and enjoying learning about a topic, your grades will be better. Which classes have you liked so far? Are there courses in another subject that you’re curious about?

Your major puts very few restrictions on career choices.
Selecting a major and selecting a career are not the same thing. In 2014 a St. Lawrence University student graduated with a Neuroscience major. His first job is in communications for a high-end jewelry company. You should choose a major that you enjoy, and develop skills that are applicable to a variety of careers.

Develop transferable skills.
Beyond the skills you gain academically at SLU, employers value skills that you develop outside of the classroom. Consider participating in internships, volunteer service and additional campus activities and leadership opportunities.

Evaluate your interests.

  • If you could teach a course on any subject, what would it be? To whom would you teach it?
  • Which world issues concern you most?
  • You’ve been given time to write a novel. What would it be about?
  • If you could trade jobs with any 3 people, who would they be and why?
  • What themes arise from your answers to the above?

Find a major.

  • List the departments that you know you don’t want to major in. What do they have in common?
  • Do you feel pressure from your family to major in (or NOT major in) certain fields?
  • Are you preparing for a specific graduate or professional degree? Does it require a specific major?
  • What’s required for completion of this major? (Presentations, papers, projects, research….etc.)
  • What insight have the answers to the above given you?

Resources for exploring majors:

Make an appointment with a career counselor to discuss your interests and skills. We can help you access FOCUS 2, an education and career planning system that can help assess which majors and careers may fit you.

Check the websites of SLU academic departments. You can find information on majoring in that discipline, courses offered, and (often) profiles of current students or alumni.

Sign up for Shadow a Saint and attend alumni events on and off campus throughout your time at St. Lawrence. It’s never too early to start networking and speaking with alumni about their career paths.

Get advice from your Academic Advisor or any faculty member within a department you’re interested in.

Talk to current students who are majoring in the discipline that interests you. Ask them what they like and dislike about their major, and question them on the requirements of the courses.

Connect with alumni on LinkedIn through the SLU Group and ask them if they’ll do an informational interview with you. You might ask:

Why did you choose your major?
What did your 4-year schedule look like (and how rigorous was it)?
Do you regret choosing that major?
Who was your favorite professor?
How did you end up in the industry you’re in now?

5 myths about majors:

Myth #1: Your major must be directly related to a future goal. Reality: Most employers are more interested in why you chose your major and how well you did in it, as opposed to what it is. A number of St. Lawrence graduates find themselves choosing work that is not directly related to their field of study.

Myth #2: When I choose my major, I can no longer take classes in other areas of interest. Reality: SLU allows students a wide range of elective courses outside of one’s major in addition to the double major, combined major and minor options.

Myth #3: Only my major will appear on my resume. Reality: In the education section of your resume, you can also include a minor or list courses to show your educational experience in other subjects.

Myth #4: A major is the best indicator of the skills I’ve gained. Reality: No major prepares you exclusively for a specific job or provides all the job-specific skills you will need. Many skills are developed through experiential learning opportunities. Keep in mind that employers want well-rounded college graduates. Self-management skills such as leadership and the ability to multitask will also be taken into consideration.

Myth #5: A liberal arts students is nothing without an advanced degree. Reality: Absolutely not! St. Lawrence University graduates are prominently employed in business, social services, government and elsewhere without having required advanced degrees.

Majors and Minors at St. Lawrence University