Choosing a major and interest testing
Choosing a major
A state of discovery
During your first year in college, it is perfectly acceptable to be a
deciding student, one who is in the process of choosing a major. Your
major becomes a very important aspect of your identity while in college
and it shouldn't be taken lightly. Being open to possibilities allows
you to explore a variety of subjects and interests and choose an area of
study that is most right for you. After all, having a breadth of
knowledge in a variety of areas is what a liberal arts education is all
You're not alone
As a student open to possibilities, you are not alone. A significant
percentage of incoming college freshmen don't know in what they are
going to major, and some studies report that as many as 80% of students
will change their minds about their major at least once before
graduation. These statistics may be comforting, but they still do not
help in answering the questions, "What can the Office of Career Services
do to help?"
Here are some of the programs and services we offer to help you make this important decision:
an appointment with a career counselor to discuss your options. They
can guide you through a journey of discovering your interests, likes,
goals, and preferences and discuss with you how these influence your
Personality and Interest Assessments:
These inventories can provide information about your interests and
personality characteristics and usually prove helpful when it comes to
choosing a major or making career decisions. It is a two-step process in
which you will first meet with your counselor to discuss the test and
have a second meeting for the interpretation of your responses.
Information usually learned from the results includes majors, campus and
professional activities, and occupations that you may want to review
more closely based on your personality and interests.
career library contains hundreds of resources that can provide you with
information and tips about college majors and career fields linked to
What Can I Do with This Major?
: This website helps to connect your major with typical career paths
associated with that area of study. Though not a comprehensive list of
careers, it will serve as a great representation of opportunities within
Tips on choosing a major
- Use your General Education Requirements to your advantage.
Take time to explore and take courses in possible areas of interest.
Ask yourself these questions: How do you feel in those classes? What
subject areas do you find most interesting?
- Review the course catalog given to you during your first year.
If you do not have one, visit the academic records website or
office. There is also one on file in the Career Services Library.
- Look at the list of available majors and
concentrations. Remove from consideration the majors in which you have
absolutely no interest. Do not exclude a major simply because you are
unfamiliar with the subject area.
- Read the course descriptions for the majors that
interest you or of which you need more information and highlight those
classes of interest.
- Are there majors with more classes highlighted than others? Explore those majors more closely.
- Speak with your academic adviser and a career counselor. They
are trained to assist you in making this decision and can offer insight
and direction to programs that may interest you or professors with whom
you should speak.
- Ask yourself these questions:
- What was my favorite subject in high school?
- What kinds of classes come naturally for me?
- Is graduate school a possibility?
- Have teachers, friends, or family members encouraged me to look at certain majors because of something they know about me?
- What subjects would I explore or learn more about during my four years at Furman if they were not for class credit?
- Attend the Majors meeting and other events hosted by the departments that interest you and speak with the professors of the major.
Professors and students in the major can give more detailed
information about the department, course requirements, workload, and
opportunities. Ask yourself:
- Do you have anything in common with the majors in the department?
- Do you find their research, concentrations, and/or professional work to be interesting?
- Do you connect with the professors
- Explore/investigate different career fields through
informational interviewing, Career Services programs, and Career
- Don't be afraid to choose. As long as you
have followed the guidelines presented here and taken the time to meet
with a career counselor and your academic adviser, you will be better
prepared to make this decision than you actually give yourself credit.
Trust your judgment!
Remember, your major does not necessarily dictate or limit your career
choices. In fact, many people have successful and satisfying careers
that are completely unrelated to their undergraduate major. You have
four years to prepare yourself for almost any career (more if you attend
graduate school) by taking advantage of internships and non-major